Regulating Crystal Structure and Atomic Arrangement in Single-Component Metal Oxides through Electrochemical Conversion for Efficient Overall Water Splitting.

Xiaoping Zhang, Chung-Li Dong, Yiqing Wang, Jie Chen, Kumaravelu Thanigai Arul, Zhidan Diao, Yanming Fu, Mingtao Li, Shaohua Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Single-component transition-metal oxide (TMO: FeO$_{x}$, NiO$_{x}$, or CoO$_{x}$) nanosheets grown on nickel foam (NF) were electrochemically optimized with Li ion (Na ion)-induced conversion reaction for bifunctional electrocatalysis. The optimum FeO$_{x}$/NF-Li electrocatalyst exhibits low overpotentials of 239 mV for hydrogen evolution reaction and 276 mV for oxygen evolution reaction at a current density of 100 mA cm$^{-2}$. A two-electrode water splitting cell using FeO$_{x}$/NF-Li as both anode and cathode requires only 1.60 V to achieve a current density of 10 mA cm$^{-2}$. The impressive water splitting performance of the FeO$_{x}$/NF-Li electrode is revealed to be attributed to Li-induced electrochemical conversion, which alters the crystal structure, creating more active sites for electrocatalytic reactions, as well as introduces O vacancies increasing the electron density and the intrinsic conductivity. More importantly, the atomic arrangement is regulated from tetrahedral Fe(Td) to octahedral Fe(Oh) coordination, which acts as catalytically active sites with reduced Gibbs free energy for the rate-determining steps. This electrochemical conversion reaction can be extended to other TMOs (i.e., NiO$_{x}$/NF and CoO$_{x}$/NF) for promoted electrocatalytic water splitting performances. This study provides an in-depth understanding on the nature of atomic and electronic structure evolution to promote the electrocatalytic activity.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 10 2020

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