Confining High-Valence Iridium Single Sites onto Nickel Oxyhydroxide for Robust Oxygen Evolution

Nano Lett. 2022 May 11;22(9):3832-3839. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.2c01124. Epub 2022 Apr 22.


Enhancing activity and stability of iridium- (Ir-) based oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalysts is of great significance in practice. Here, we report a vacancy-rich nickel hydroxide stabilized Ir single-atom catalyst (Ir1-Ni(OH)2), which achieves long-term OER stability over 260 h and much higher mass activity than commercial IrO2 in alkaline media. In situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy analysis certifies the obvious structure reconstruction of catalyst in OER. As a result, an active structure in which high-valence and peripheral oxygen ligands-rich Ir sites are confined onto the nickel oxyhydroxide surface is formed. In addition, the precise introduction of atomized Ir not only surmounts the large-range dissolution and agglomeration of Ir but also suppresses the dissolution of substrate in OER. Theoretical calculations further account for the activation of Ir single atoms and the promotion of oxygen generation by high-valence Ir, and they reveal that the deprotonation process of adsorbed OH is rate-determining.

Keywords: DFT calculations; in situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy; oxygen evolution; single-atom catalyst; structural reconstruction.