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Operando Observations of a Manganese Oxide Electrocatalyst for Water Oxidation Using Hard/Tender/Soft X‑ray Absorption Spectroscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 20.10.2020, 14:36 by Shun Tsunekawa, Futaba Yamamoto, Ke-Hsuan Wang, Masanari Nagasaka, Hayato Yuzawa, Satoru Takakusagi, Hiroshi Kondoh, Kiyotaka Asakura, Takeshi Kawai, Masaaki Yoshida
A layered manganese oxide catalyst containing K+ cations [K/MnOx catalyst] was developed, and its ability to efficiently decompose water was demonstrated. Operando hard/tender/soft X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) techniques were used to investigate the function of the K/MnOx catalyst under working conditions. The Mn valency depended on the potential and the amount of K+ cation adsorption. Mn K-edge (hard X-ray) XAFS measurements for the K/MnOx catalyst suggested that the Mn in the catalyst was an Mn3+ species with an octahedral δ-MnO2 structure at a lower electrode potential, which changed reversibly to an Mn4+ species with a δ-MnO2 structure at higher potential during oxygen evolution. A similar result was obtained from operando O K-edge (soft X-ray) XAFS. The chemical state of K species was analyzed using operando K K-edge (tender X-ray) XAFS, which indicated that K+ cations were intercalated with hydrated states in the δ-MnO2 layers. These operando XAFS results demonstrated that the layered δ-MnO2 containing hydrated K+ cations functioned as efficient oxygen evolution electrocatalysts because of the presence of Mn3+ reaction sites.