3 years ago

Dynamic surface self-reconstruction is the key of highly active perovskite nano-electrocatalysts for water splitting

Dynamic surface self-reconstruction is the key of highly active perovskite nano-electrocatalysts for water splitting
Nemanja Danilovic, Tobias Binninger, Julien Durst, Thomas Graule, Thomas J. Schmidt, Bae-Jung Kim, Maarten Nachtegaal, Emiliana Fabbri, Morgan Pertoso, Luke Wiles, Robin Schäublin, Katherine E. Ayers, Francesco Bozza, Xi Cheng
The growing need to store increasing amounts of renewable energy has recently triggered substantial R&D efforts towards efficient and stable water electrolysis technologies. The oxygen evolution reaction (OER) occurring at the electrolyser anode is central to the development of a clean, reliable and emission-free hydrogen economy. The development of robust and highly active anode materials for OER is therefore a great challenge and has been the main focus of research. Among potential candidates, perovskites have emerged as promising OER electrocatalysts. In this study, by combining a scalable cutting-edge synthesis method with time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy measurements, we were able to capture the dynamic local electronic and geometric structure during realistic operando conditions for highly active OER perovskite nanocatalysts. Ba0.5Sr0.5Co0.8Fe0.2O3−δ as nano-powder displays unique features that allow a dynamic self-reconstruction of the materials surface during OER, that is, the growth of a self-assembled metal oxy(hydroxide) active layer. Therefore, besides showing outstanding performance at both the laboratory and industrial scale, we provide a fundamental understanding of the operando OER mechanism for highly active perovskite catalysts. This understanding significantly differs from design principles based on ex situ characterization techniques.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmat4938

DOI: 10.1038/nmat4938

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