Edge reactivity and water-assisted dissociation on cobalt oxide nanoislands

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

DOI

  • J. Fester
  • ,
  • M. García-Melchor, Chemical Engineering and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory,Stanford University, Stanford, California 94025, School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
  • ,
  • A. S. Walton, School of Chemistry, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL
  • ,
  • Michal Bajdich, Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • ,
  • Zheshen Li
  • L. Lammich
  • Aleksandra Vojvodic, University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • ,
  • J. V. Lauritsen

Transition metal oxides show great promise as Earth-abundant catalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction in electrochemical water splitting. However, progress in the development of highly active oxide nanostructures is hampered by a lack of knowledge of the location and nature of the active sites. Here we show, through atom-resolved scanning tunnelling microscopy, X-ray spectroscopy and computational modelling, how hydroxyls form from water dissociation at under coordinated cobalt edge sites of cobalt oxide nanoislands. Surprisingly, we find that an additional water molecule acts to promote all the elementary steps of the dissociation process and subsequent hydrogen migration, revealing the important assisting role of a water molecule in its own dissociation process on a metal oxide. Inspired by the experimental findings, we theoretically model the oxygen evolution reaction activity of cobalt oxide nanoislands and show that the nanoparticle metal edges also display favourable adsorption energetics for water oxidation under electrochemical conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14169
JournalNature Communications
Volume8
Number of pages8
ISSN2041-1723
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2017

    Research areas

  • OXYGEN EVOLUTION CATALYSIS, DIRECT VISUALIZATION, OXIDATION, ELECTROCATALYSTS, SURFACES, INTERFACE, METALS, GOLD, PT(111), FILM

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 110980397