Synthesis and Activities of Rutile IrO2 and RuO2 Nanoparticles for Oxygen Evolution in Acid and Alkaline Solutions

J Phys Chem Lett. 2012 Feb 2;3(3):399-404. doi: 10.1021/jz2016507. Epub 2012 Jan 19.


The activities of the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) on iridium-oxide- and ruthenium-oxide-based catalysts are among the highest known to date. However, the OER activities of thermodynamically stable rutile iridium oxide (r-IrO2) and rutile iridium oxide (r-RuO2), normalized to catalyst mass or true surface area are not well-defined. Here we report a synthesis of r-IrO2 and r-RuO2 nanoparticles (NPs) of ∼6 nm, and examine their OER activities in acid and alkaline solutions. Both r-IrO2 and r-RuO2 NPs were highly active for OER, with r-RuO2 exhibiting up to 10 A/goxide at 1.48 V versus reversible hydrogen electrode. When comparing the two, r-RuO2 NPs were found to have slightly higher intrinsic and mass OER activities than r-IrO2 in both acid and basic solutions. Interestingly, these oxide NPs showed higher stability under OER conditions than commercial Ru/C and Ir/C catalysts. Our study shows that these r-RuO2 and r-IrO2 NPs can serve as a benchmark in the development of active OER catalysts for electrolyzers, metal-air batteries, and photoelectrochemical water splitting applications.

Keywords: acid; alkaline; electrocatalysis; iridium oxide; nanomaterials; oxygen evolution; ruthenium oxide; rutile; water splitting.