Electrochemical water splitting (electrolysis)—driven by renewable electricity—offers a sustainable route for energy storage in hydrogen. Significant research has been undertaken to catalyze the kinetically hindered oxidation half reaction in water electrolysis, the oxygen evolution reaction (OER), with most studies focusing on improving electrocatalytic activity of OER. However, dynamic transformations of electrocatalyst surfaces during OER pose a challenge for understanding the intrinsic active sites. In this review, detection methods for surface transformations including electron microscopy, vibration spectroscopy, core-level spectroscopy, and x-ray diffraction-based methods are discussed. Novel in situ and operando surface science techniques, multimodal characterization, and systematic experimental design will provide insight into the true active surface and OER mechanisms. Knowledge of electrocatalyst surface transformation pathways will lay the foundation for engineering pre-catalyst materials for scalable water electrolysis and support a sustainable energy future.
Surface transformations of electrocatalysts during the oxygen evolution reaction
Molly E. Vitale-Sullivan, Alvin Chang, Kuan-Hsun Chou, Zhenxing Feng, Kelsey A. Stoerzinger; Surface transformations of electrocatalysts during the oxygen evolution reaction. Chem. Phys. Rev. 1 June 2023; 4 (2): 021309. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0139558
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