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      Enhancement of Oxygen Evolution Activity of Nickel Oxyhydroxide by Electrolyte Alkali Cations

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          Benchmarking heterogeneous electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction.

          Objective evaluation of the activity of electrocatalysts for water oxidation is of fundamental importance for the development of promising energy conversion technologies including integrated solar water-splitting devices, water electrolyzers, and Li-air batteries. However, current methods employed to evaluate oxygen-evolving catalysts are not standardized, making it difficult to compare the activity and stability of these materials. We report a protocol for evaluating the activity, stability, and Faradaic efficiency of electrodeposited oxygen-evolving electrocatalysts. In particular, we focus on methods for determining electrochemically active surface area and measuring electrocatalytic activity and stability under conditions relevant to an integrated solar water-splitting device. Our primary figure of merit is the overpotential required to achieve a current density of 10 mA cm(-2) per geometric area, approximately the current density expected for a 10% efficient solar-to-fuels conversion device. Utilizing the aforementioned surface area measurements, one can determine electrocatalyst turnover frequencies. The reported protocol was used to examine the oxygen-evolution activity of the following systems in acidic and alkaline solutions: CoO(x), CoPi, CoFeO(x), NiO(x), NiCeO(x), NiCoO(x), NiCuO(x), NiFeO(x), and NiLaO(x). The oxygen-evolving activity of an electrodeposited IrO(x) catalyst was also investigated for comparison. Two general observations are made from comparing the catalytic performance of the OER catalysts investigated: (1) in alkaline solution, every non-noble metal system achieved 10 mA cm(-2) current densities at similar operating overpotentials between 0.35 and 0.43 V, and (2) every system but IrO(x) was unstable under oxidative conditions in acidic solutions.
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            Nickel-iron oxyhydroxide oxygen-evolution electrocatalysts: the role of intentional and incidental iron incorporation.

            Fe plays a critical, but not yet understood, role in enhancing the activity of the Ni-based oxygen evolution reaction (OER) electrocatalysts. We report electrochemical, in situ electrical, photoelectron spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction measurements on Ni(1-x)Fe(x)(OH)2/Ni(1-x)Fe(x)OOH thin films to investigate the changes in electronic properties, OER activity, and structure as a result of Fe inclusion. We developed a simple method for purification of KOH electrolyte that uses precipitated bulk Ni(OH)2 to absorb Fe impurities. Cyclic voltammetry on rigorously Fe-free Ni(OH)2/NiOOH reveals new Ni redox features and no significant OER current until >400 mV overpotential, different from previous reports which were likely affected by Fe impurities. We show through controlled crystallization that β-NiOOH is less active for OER than the disordered γ-NiOOH starting material and that previous reports of increased activity for β-NiOOH are due to incorporation of Fe-impurities during the crystallization process. Through-film in situ conductivity measurements show a >30-fold increase in film conductivity with Fe addition, but this change in conductivity is not sufficient to explain the observed changes in activity. Measurements of activity as a function of film thickness on Au and glassy carbon substrates are consistent with the hypothesis that Fe exerts a partial-charge-transfer activation effect on Ni, similar to that observed for noble-metal electrode surfaces. These results have significant implications for the design and study of Ni(1-x)Fe(x)OOH OER electrocatalysts, which are the fastest measured OER catalysts under basic conditions.
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              Identification of highly active Fe sites in (Ni,Fe)OOH for electrocatalytic water splitting.

              Highly active catalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) are required for the development of photoelectrochemical devices that generate hydrogen efficiently from water using solar energy. Here, we identify the origin of a 500-fold OER activity enhancement that can be achieved with mixed (Ni,Fe)oxyhydroxides (Ni(1-x)Fe(x)OOH) over their pure Ni and Fe parent compounds, resulting in one of the most active currently known OER catalysts in alkaline electrolyte. Operando X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) using high energy resolution fluorescence detection (HERFD) reveals that Fe(3+) in Ni(1-x)Fe(x)OOH occupies octahedral sites with unusually short Fe-O bond distances, induced by edge-sharing with surrounding [NiO6] octahedra. Using computational methods, we establish that this structural motif results in near optimal adsorption energies of OER intermediates and low overpotentials at Fe sites. By contrast, Ni sites in Ni(1-x)Fe(x)OOH are not active sites for the oxidation of water.

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                Angewandte Chemie International Edition
                Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.
                September 09 2019
                July 25 2019
                September 09 2019
                : 58
                : 37
                : 12999-13003
                [1 ]Leiden Institute of Chemistry Leiden University PO Box 9502 2300 RA Leiden The Netherlands
                [2 ]Current address: Department of Sustainable Process and Energy Systems TNO Leeghwaterstraat 44 2628 CA Delft The Netherlands
                [3 ]Instituto de Química de São Carlos Universidade de São Paulo Avenida Trabalhador São-Carlense 400 13569-590 São Carlos, SP Brazil
                © 2019





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