Enhanced Activity and Acid pH Stability of Prussian Blue-type Oxygen Evolution Electrocatalysts Processed by Chemical Etching

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Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST), Av. Paisos Catalans, 16,. Tarragona E-43007, Spain
Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), CSIC and The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST), Campus UAB, Bellaterra, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
§ Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC), Jardins de les Dones de Negre 1, Sant Adrià del Besòs, 08930 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
ICREA, Pg. Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
Cite this: J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 49, 16037–16045
Publication Date (Web):November 16, 2016
Copyright © 2016 American Chemical Society
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The development of upscalable oxygen evolving electrocatalysts from earth-abundant metals able to operate in neutral or acidic environments and low overpotentials remains a fundamental challenge for the realization of artificial photosynthesis. In this study, we report a highly active phase of heterobimetallic cyanide-bridged electrocatalysts able to promote water oxidation under neutral, basic (pH < 13), and acidic conditions (pH > 1). Cobalt–iron Prussian blue-type thin films, formed by chemical etching of Co(OH)1.0(CO3)0.5·nH2O nanocrystals, yield a dramatic enhancement of the catalytic performance toward oxygen production, when compared with previous reports for analogous materials. Electrochemical, spectroscopic, and structural studies confirm the excellent performance, stability, and corrosion resistance, even when compared with state-of-the-art metal oxide catalysts under moderate overpotentials and in a remarkably large pH range, including acid media where most cost-effective water oxidation catalysts are not useful. The origin of the superior electrocatalytic activity toward water oxidation appears to be in the optimized interfacial matching between catalyst and electrode surface obtained through this fabrication method.

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