An iridium oxide nanoparticle electrocatalyst under oxygen evolution reaction conditions was probed in situ by ambient-pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Under OER conditions, iridium undergoes a change in oxidation state from Ir(IV) to Ir(V) that takes place predominantly at the surface of the catalyst. The chemical change in iridium is coupled to a decrease in surface hydroxide, providing experimental evidence which strongly suggests that the oxygen evolution reaction on iridium oxide occurs through an OOH-mediated deprotonation mechanism.
Keywords: X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy; electrochemistry; heterogeneous catalysis; iridium oxide; oxygen evolution reaction.
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