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Tuning Dynamically Formed Active Phases and Catalytic Mechanisms of In Situ Electrochemically Activated Layered Double Hydroxide for Oxygen Evolution Reaction

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journal contribution
posted on 13.09.2021, 14:45 authored by Soressa Abera Chala, Meng-Che Tsai, Bizualem Wakuma Olbasa, Keseven Lakshmanan, Wei-Hsiang Huang, Wei-Nien Su, Yen-Fa Liao, Jyh-Fu Lee, Hongjie Dai, Bing Joe Hwang
The active phase and catalytic mechanisms of Ni-based layered double hydroxide (LDH) materials for oxygen evolution reaction (OER) have no common consensus and remain controversial. Moreover, engineering the site activity and the number of active sites of LDHs is an efficient approach to advance the OER activity, as the thickness and stacking structure of the LDHs layer limit the catalytic activity. This work presents an interesting in situ approach of tuning the site activity and number of active sites of NiMn-LDHs, which exhibit the superior OER performance (onset overpotential of 0.17 V and overpotential of 0.24 V at 10 mA cm–2). The fundamental mechanistic insights and active phases during the OER process are characterized by in operando techniques along with the computational density functional theory calculations, revealing that the Ni site constitutes the OER activity and the dynamically generated NiOOH moiety is the active phase. We also prove that Ni sites undergo a reversible oxidation state under the working conditions to create active NiOOH species which catalyze the water to generate oxygen. These findings suggest that the Ni­(III) phase in NiMn-LDHs is the OER active site and Mn promotes the electronic properties of Ni sites. Utilizing in situ/in operando techniques and theoretical calculation, we find that the in situ intercalation of guest anions allows the expansion of the LDH layers and keeps the active NiOOH species under the oxidation state of +3 via electron coupling, which ultimately tunes the site populations and site activity toward the superior OER activity, respectively. This work thus targets to provide insight into strategies to design the next generation of highly active catalysts for water electrolysis and fuel cell technologies.