Evolution of Mn-Bi2O3 from the Mn-doped Bi3O4Br electro(pre)catalyst during the oxygen evolution reaction

Dalton Trans. 2024 Apr 23. doi: 10.1039/d4dt00633j. Online ahead of print.


Mn-doped Bi3O4Br has been synthesized using a solvothermal route. The undoped Bi3O4Br and Mn-Bi3O4Br materials possess orthorhombic unit cells with two distinct Bi sites forming a layered atomic arrangement. The shift in the (020) plane in the powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) pattern confirms Mn-doping in the Bi3O4Br lattice. Elemental mapping indicated 7% Mn doping in the Bi3O4Br lattice structure. A core-level X-ray photoelectron study (XPS) indicates the presence of BiIII and MnII valence-states in Mn-Bi3O4Br. Doping with a cation (MnII) containing a different charge and ionic radius resulted in vacancy/defects in Mn-Bi3O4Br which further altered its electronic structure by reducing the indirect band gap, beneficial for electron conduction and electrocatalysis. The irreversible MnII to MnIII transformation at a potential of 1.48 V (vs. RHE) precedes the electrochemical oxygen evolution reaction (OER). The Mn-doped electrocatalyst achieved 10 mA cm-2 current density at 337 mV overpotential, while the pristine Bi3O4Br required 385 mV overpotential to reach the same activity. The pronounced OER activity of the Mn-Bi3O4Br sample over the pristine Bi3O4Br highlights the necessity of MnII doping. The superior activity of the Mn-Bi3O4Br catalyst over that of Bi3O4Br is due to a low Tafel slope, better double-layer capacitance (Cdl), and small charge-transfer resistance (Rct). The chronoamperometry (CA) study depicts long-term stability for 12 h at 20 mA cm-2. An electrolyzer fabricated as Pt(-)/(+)Mn-Bi3O4Br can deliver 10 mA cm-2 at a cell potential of 2.05 V. The post-CA-OER analyses of the anode confirmed the leaching of [Br-] followed by in situ formation of Mn-doped Bi2O3 as the electrocatalytically active species. Herein, an ultra-low Mn-doping into Bi3O4Br leads to an improvement in the electrocatalytic performance of the inactive Bi3O4Br material.