Iron-Induced Activation of Ordered Mesoporous Nickel Cobalt Oxide Electrocatalyst for the Oxygen Evolution Reaction
Deng, X. and Öztürk, S. and Weidenthaler, C. and Tüysüz, H.
ACS APPLIED MATERIALS AND INTERFACES
Volume: 9 Pages: 21225-21233
Herein, ordered mesoporous nickel cobalt oxides prepared by the nanocasting route are reported as highly active oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalysts. By using the ordered mesoporous structure as a model system and afterward elevating the optimal catalysts composition, it is shown that, with a simple electrochemical activation step, the performance of nickel cobalt oxide can be significantly enhanced. The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy results indicated that charge transfer resistance increases for Co3O4 spinel after an activation process, while this value drops for NiO and especially for CoNi mixed oxide significantly, which confirms the improvement of oxygen evolution kinetics. The catalyst with the optimal composition (Co/Ni 4/1) reaches a current density of 10 mA/cm2 with an overpotential of a mere 336 mV and a Tafel slope of 36 mV/dec, outperforming benchmarked and other reported Ni/Co-based OER electrocatalysts. The catalyst also demonstrates outstanding durability for 14 h and maintained the ordered mesoporous structure. The cyclic voltammograms along with the electrochemical measurements in Fe-free KOH electrolyte suggest that the activity boost is attributed to the generation of surface Ni(OH)2 species that incorporate Fe impurities from the electrolyte. The incorporation of Fe into the structure is also confirmed by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. © 2017 American Chemical Society.