Ultrathin Iron-Cobalt Oxide Nanosheets with Abundant Oxygen Vacancies for the Oxygen Evolution Reaction

Adv Mater. 2017 May;29(17). doi: 10.1002/adma.201606793. Epub 2017 Feb 27.


Electrochemical water splitting is a promising method for storing light/electrical energy in the form of H2 fuel; however, it is limited by the sluggish anodic oxygen evolution reaction (OER). To improve the accessibility of H2 production, it is necessary to develop an efficient OER catalyst with large surface area, abundant active sites, and good stability, through a low-cost fabrication route. Herein, a facile solution reduction method using NaBH4 as a reductant is developed to prepare iron-cobalt oxide nanosheets (Fex Coy -ONSs) with a large specific surface area (up to 261.1 m2 g-1 ), ultrathin thickness (1.2 nm), and, importantly, abundant oxygen vacancies. The mass activity of Fe1 Co1 -ONS measured at an overpotential of 350 mV reaches up to 54.9 A g-1 , while its Tafel slope is 36.8 mV dec-1 ; both of which are superior to those of commercial RuO2 , crystalline Fe1 Co1 -ONP, and most reported OER catalysts. The excellent OER catalytic activity of Fe1 Co1 -ONS can be attributed to its specific structure, e.g., ultrathin nanosheets that could facilitate mass diffusion/transport of OH- ions and provide more active sites for OER catalysis, and oxygen vacancies that could improve electronic conductivity and facilitate adsorption of H2 O onto nearby Co3+ sites.

Keywords: oxygen evolution reaction; oxygen vacancies; sodium borohydride; ultrathin nanosheets.