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      Photochemical route for accessing amorphous metal oxide materials for water oxidation catalysis.

      Science (New York, N.Y.)

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          Abstract

          Large-scale electrolysis of water for hydrogen generation requires better catalysts to lower the kinetic barriers associated with the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). Although most OER catalysts are based on crystalline mixed-metal oxides, high activities can also be achieved with amorphous phases. Methods for producing amorphous materials, however, are not typically amenable to mixed-metal compositions. We demonstrate that a low-temperature process, photochemical metal-organic deposition, can produce amorphous (mixed) metal oxide films for OER catalysis. The films contain a homogeneous distribution of metals with compositions that can be accurately controlled. The catalytic properties of amorphous iron oxide prepared with this technique are superior to those of hematite, whereas the catalytic properties of a-Fe(100-y-z)Co(y)Ni(z)O(x) are comparable to those of noble metal oxide catalysts currently used in commercial electrolyzers.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Solar water splitting cells.

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            In situ formation of an oxygen-evolving catalyst in neutral water containing phosphate and Co2+.

            The utilization of solar energy on a large scale requires its storage. In natural photosynthesis, energy from sunlight is used to rearrange the bonds of water to oxygen and hydrogen equivalents. The realization of artificial systems that perform "water splitting" requires catalysts that produce oxygen from water without the need for excessive driving potentials. Here we report such a catalyst that forms upon the oxidative polarization of an inert indium tin oxide electrode in phosphate-buffered water containing cobalt (II) ions. A variety of analytical techniques indicates the presence of phosphate in an approximate 1:2 ratio with cobalt in this material. The pH dependence of the catalytic activity also implicates the hydrogen phosphate ion as the proton acceptor in the oxygen-producing reaction. This catalyst not only forms in situ from earth-abundant materials but also operates in neutral water under ambient conditions.
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              A perovskite oxide optimized for oxygen evolution catalysis from molecular orbital principles.

              The efficiency of many energy storage technologies, such as rechargeable metal-air batteries and hydrogen production from water splitting, is limited by the slow kinetics of the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). We found that Ba(0.5)Sr(0.5)Co(0.8)Fe(0.2)O(3-δ) (BSCF) catalyzes the OER with intrinsic activity that is at least an order of magnitude higher than that of the state-of-the-art iridium oxide catalyst in alkaline media. The high activity of BSCF was predicted from a design principle established by systematic examination of more than 10 transition metal oxides, which showed that the intrinsic OER activity exhibits a volcano-shaped dependence on the occupancy of the 3d electron with an e(g) symmetry of surface transition metal cations in an oxide. The peak OER activity was predicted to be at an e(g) occupancy close to unity, with high covalency of transition metal-oxygen bonds.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.1126/science.1233638
                23539180

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