Direct Detection of Surface Species Formed on Iridium Electrocatalysts during the Oxygen Evolution Reaction

BalaKrishnan, A. and Blanc, N. and Hagemann, U. and Gemagami, P. and Wonner, K. and Tschulik, K. and Li, T.

Volume: 60 Pages: 21396-21403
DOI: 10.1002/anie.202106790
Published: 2021

The effect of surface orientations on the formation of iridium oxide species during the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) remains yet unknown. Herein, we use a needle-shaped iridium atom probe specimen as a nanosized working electrode to ascertain the role of the surface orientations in the formation of oxide species during OER. At the beginning of electrolysis, the top 2–3 nm of (024), (026), (113), and (115) planes are covered by IrO−OH, which activates all surfaces towards OER. A thick subsurface oxide layer consisting of sub-stoichiometric Ir−O species is formed on the open (024) planes as OER proceeds. Such metastable Ir−O species are thought to provide an additional contribution to the OER activity. Overall, this study sheds light on the importance of the morphological effects of iridium electrocatalysts for OER. It also provides an innovative approach that can directly reveal surface species on electrocatalysts at atomic scale. © 2021 The Authors. Angewandte Chemie International Edition published by Wiley-VCH GmbH

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