[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The design of active, robust, and nonprecious electrocatalysts with both H 2 and O 2 evolution reaction (HER and OER) activities for overall water splitting is highly desirable but remains a grand challenge. Herein, we report a facile two-step method to synthesize porous Co-P/NC nano-polyhedrons composed of CoP x (a mixture of CoP and Co 2 P) nanoparticles embedded in N-doped carbon matrices as electrocatalysts for overall water splitting. The Co-P/NC catalysts were prepared by direct carbonization of Co-based zeolitic imidazolate framework (ZIF-67) followed by phosphidation. Benefiting from the large specific surface area, controllable pore texture, and high nitrogen content of ZIF (a subclass of metal−organic frameworks), the optimal Co-P/NC showed high specific surface area of 183 m 2 g −1 and large mesopores, and exhibited remarkable catalytic performance for both HER and OER in 1.0 M KOH, affording a current density of 10 mA cm −2 at low overpotentials of −154 mV for HER and 319 mV for OER, respectively. Furthermore, a Co-P/NC-based alkaline electrolyzer approached 165 mA cm −2 at 2.0 V, superior to that of Pt/IrO 2 couple, along with strong stability. Various characterization techniques including X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) revealed that the superior activity and strong stability of Co-P/NC originated from its 3D interconnected mesoporosity with high specific surface area, high conductivity, and synergistic effect of CoP x encapsulated within N-doped carbon matrices.
Chemistry of Materials 11/2015; DOI:10.1021/acs.chemmater.5b02877 · 8.35 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The challenge of fine compositional tuning and microstructure control in complex oxides is overcome by developing a general two-step synthetic approach. Antimony-alloyed bismuth vanadate, which is identified as a novel light absorber for solar fuel applications, is prepared in a wide compositional range. The bandgap of this quaternary oxide linearly decreases with the Sb content, in agreement with first-principles calculations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: First principle calculations of extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) data have seen widespread use in bioinorganic chemistry, perhaps most notably for modeling the Mn4Ca site in the oxygen evolving complex (OEC) of photosystem II (PSII). The logic implied by the calculations rests on the assumption that it is possible to a priori predict an accurate EXAFS spectrum provided that the underlying geometric structure is correct. The present study investigates the extent to which this is possible using state of the art EXAFS theory. The FEFF program is used to evaluate the ability of a multiple scattering-based approach to directly calculate the EXAFS spectrum of crystallographically-defined model complexes. The results of these parameter free predictions are compared with the more traditional approach of fitting FEFF calculated spectra to experimental data. A series of seven crystallographically characterized Mn monomers and dimers is used as a test set. The largest deviations between the FEFF calculated EXAFS spectra and the experimental EXAFS spectra arise from the amplitudes. The amplitude errors result from a combination of errors in calculated S02 and Debye-Waller values, as well as uncertainties in background subtraction. Additional errors may be attributed to structural parameters, particularly in cases where reliable high-resolution crystal structures are not available. Based on these investigations, the strengths and weaknesses of using first principle EXAFS calculations as a predictive tool are discussed. We demonstrate that a range of DFT optimized structures of the OEC may all be considered consistent with experimental EXAFS data and that caution must be exercised when using EXAFS data to obtain topological arrangements of complex clusters.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 09/2015; 137(40). DOI:10.1021/jacs.5b00783 · 12.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Condensation of ortho-phenylenediamine derivatives with ortho-quinone moieties at edge planes of graphitic carbon generates graphite-conjugated pyrazines (GCPs) that are active for oxygen reduction electrocatalysis in alkaline aqueous electrolyte. Catalytic rates of oxygen reduction are positively correlated with the electrophilicity of the active site pyrazine unit and can be tuned by over 70-fold by appending electron-withdrawing substituents to the phenylenediamine precursors. Discrete molecular analogs containing pyrazine moieties display no activity above background under identical conditions. This simple bottom up method for constructing molecularly well-defined active sites on ubiquitous graphitic solids enables the rational design of tunable heterogeneous catalysts.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 08/2015; 137(34). DOI:10.1021/jacs.5b06737 · 12.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In photosynthesis, photosystem II (PSII) is the multi-subunit membrane protein complex that catalyzes photo-oxidation of water into dioxygen through the oxygen evolving complex (OEC). To understand the water oxidation reaction, it is important to get structural information about the transient and intermediate states of the OEC in the dimeric PSII core complex (dPSIIcc). In recent times, femtosecond X-ray pulses from the free electron laser (XFEL) are being used to obtain X-ray diffraction
(XRD) data of dPSIIcc microcrystals at room temperature that are free of radiation damage. In our experiments at the XFEL, we used an electrospun liquid microjet setup that requires microcrystals less than 40 μm in size. In this study, we explored various microseeding techniques to get a high yield of monodisperse uniform-sized microcrystals. Monodisperse microcrystals of dPSIIcc of uniform size were a key to improve the stability of the jet and the quality of XRD data obtained at the XFEL. This was evident by an improvement of the quality of the datasets obtained, from 6.5 Å, using crystals grown without the micro seeding approach, to 4.5 Å using crystals generated with the new method.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ca2+-depleted and Ca2+-reconstituted spinach photosystem II was studied using polarized X-ray absorption spectroscopy of oriented PS II preparations to investigate the structural and functional role of the Ca2+ ion in the Mn4O5Ca cluster of the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC). Samples were prepared by low pH/citrate treatment as one-dimensionally ordered membrane layers, and poised in the Ca2+-depleted S1 (S1'), S2 (S2') and S2'YZ• states, at which point the catalytic cycle of water oxidation is inhibited, and the Ca2+-reconstituted S1 state. Polarized Mn K-edge XANES and EXAFS spectra exhibit pronounced dichroism. Polarized EXAFS data of all states of Ca2+-depleted PS II investigated show only minor changes in distances and orientations of the Mn-Mn vectors compared to the Ca2+-containing OEC, which may be attributed to some loss of rigidity of the core structure. Thus, removal of the Ca2+ ion does not lead to fundamental distortion or rearrangement of the tetranuclear Mn cluster, which indicates that the Ca2+ ion in the OEC is not critical for structural maintenance of the cluster at least in the S1 and S2 states, but fulfills a crucial catalytic function in the mechanism of the water oxidation reaction. On the basis of this structural information, reasons for the inhibitory effect of Ca2+ removal are discussed, attributing to the Ca2+ ion a fundamental role in organizing the surrounding (substrate) water framework and in proton-coupled electron transfer to YZ• (D1-Tyr161).
The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 05/2015; DOI:10.1021/acs.jpcb.5b03559 · 3.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) with stable, oxidation resistant, and tunable photoluminescence (PL) are highly desired for various applications including solid-state lighting and biological labeling. However, many current systems for visible light emission involve the use of toxic Cd. Here, we report the synthesis and characterization of a series of codoped core/shell ZnSe/ZnS quantum dots (QDs) with tunable PL maxima spanning 430 nm to 570 nm (FWHM = 80 nm), with broad emission extending to 700 nm, through the use of Cu+ as the primary dopant and trivalent cations (Al3+, Ga3+, and In3+) as codopants. Furthermore, we developed a unique thiol-based bidentate ligand that significantly improved PL intensity, long term stability, and resilience to post-synthetic processing. Through comprehensive experimental and computational studies based on steady state and time-resolved spectroscopy, electron microscopy, and density functional theory (DFT), we show that the tunable PL of this system is the result of energy level modification to donor and/or acceptor recombination pathways. By incorporating these findings with local structure information obtained from extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) studies, we generate a complete energetic model accounting for the photophysical processes in these unique QDs. With the understanding of optical, structural, and electronic properties we gain in this study, this successful codoping strategy may be applied to other QD or related systems to tune the optical properties of semiconductors while maintaining low toxicity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The structural and electronic properties of a series of manganese complexes with terminal oxido ligands are described. The complexes span three different oxidation states at the manganese center (III-V), have similar molecular structures, and contain intramolecular hydrogen-bonding networks surrounding the Mn-oxo unit. Structural studies using X-ray absorption methods indicated that each complex is mononuclear and that oxidation occurs at the manganese centers, which is also supported by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) studies. This gives a high-spin Mn(V)-oxo complex and not a Mn(IV)-oxy radical as the most oxidized species. In addition, the EPR findings demonstrated that the Fermi contact term could experimentally substantiate the oxidation states at the manganese centers and the covalency in the metal-ligand bonding. Oxygen-17-labeled samples were used to determine spin density within the Mn-oxo unit, with the greatest delocalization occurring within the Mn(V)-oxo species (0.45 spins on the oxido ligand). The experimental results coupled with density functional theory studies show a large amount of covalency within the Mn-oxo bonds. Finally, these results are examined within the context of possible mechanisms associated with photosynthetic water oxidation; specifically, the possible identity of the proposed high valent Mn-oxo species that is postulated to form during turnover is discussed.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2015; 112(17). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1422800112 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Single-atom cobalt centers on various oxide surfaces (TiO2, MgO, SBA-15, AlPO, and Y-Zeolite) were prepared and evaluated as water oxidation catalysts by photochemical water oxidation experiments. Superior catalytic rates were observed for cobalt sites on basic supporting oxides (TiO2 and MgO) relative to those on acidic oxides (Y-Zeolite, AlPO, and SiO2). Per-atom turnover frequencies of ca. 0.04 s-1 were achieved, giving initial rates 100 times greater than that of a surface atom of a Co3O4 nanoparticle. Contrary to expectations based on theoretical work, no apparent correlation was observed between the catalytic rates and the oxygen atom affinities of the supporting oxides.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multielectron catalytic reactions, such as water oxidation, nitrogen reduction, or hydrogen production in enzymes and inorganic catalysts often involve multimetallic clusters. In these systems, the reaction takes place between metals or metals and ligands to facilitate charge transfer, bond formation/breaking, substrate binding, and release of products. In this study, we present a method to detect X-ray emission signals from multiple elements simultaneously, which allows for the study of charge transfer and the sequential chemistry occurring between elements. Kβ X-ray emission spectroscopy (XES) probes charge and spin states of metals as well as their ligand environment. A wavelength-dispersive spectrometer based on the von Hamos geometry was used to disperse Kβ signals of multiple elements onto a position detector, enabling an XES spectrum to be measured in a single-shot mode. This overcomes the scanning needs of the scanning spectrometers, providing data free from temporal and normalization errors and therefore ideal to follow sequential chemistry at multiple sites. We have applied this method to study MnOx-based bifunctional electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). In particular, we investigated the effects of adding a secondary element, Ni, to form MnNiOx and its impact on the chemical states and catalytic activity, by tracking the redox characteristics of each element upon sweeping the electrode potential. The detection scheme we describe here is general and can be applied to time-resolved studies of materials consisting of multiple elements, to follow the dynamics of catalytic and electron transfer reactions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oxygen, that supports all aerobic life, is abundant in the atmosphere because of its constant regeneration by photosynthetic water oxidation, which is catalyzed by a Mn4CaO5 cluster in photosystem II (PS II), a multi subunit membrane protein complex. X-ray and other spectroscopy studies of the electronic and geometric structure of the Mn4CaO5 cluster as it advances through the intermediate states have been important for understanding the mechanism of water oxidation. The results and interpretations, especially from X-ray spectroscopy studies, regarding the geometric and electronic structure and the changes as the system proceeds through the catalytic cycle will be summarized in this review. This review will also include newer methodologies in time-resolved X-ray diffraction and spectroscopy that have become available since the commissioning of the X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) and are being applied to study the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC). The femtosecond X-ray pulses of the XFEL allows us to outrun X-ray damage at room temperature, and the time-evolution of the photo-induced reaction can be probed using a visible laser-pump followed by the X-ray-probe pulse. XFELs can be used to simultaneously determine the light-induced protein dynamics using crystallography and the local chemistry that occurs at the catalytic center using X-ray spectroscopy under functional conditions. Membrane inlet mass spectrometry has been important for providing direct information about the exchange of substrate water molecules, which has a direct bearing on the mechanism of water oxidation. Moreover, it has been indispensable for the time-resolved X-ray diffraction and spectroscopy studies and will be briefly reviewed in this chapter. Given the role of PS II in maintaining life in the biosphere and the future vision of a renewable energy economy, understanding the structure and mechanism of the photosynthetic water oxidation catalyst is an important goal for the future.
Metal ions in life sciences 02/2015; 15:13-43. DOI:10.1007/978-3-319-12415-5_2
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ce-rich mixed metal oxides comprise a recently discovered class of electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). In particular, at current densities below 10 mA cm−2, Ni0.3Fe0.07Co0.2Ce0.43Ox exhibits superior activity compared to the corresponding transition metal oxides, despite the relative inactivity of ceria. To elucidate the enhanced activity and underlying catalytic mechanism, detailed structural characterization of this quinary oxide electrocatalyst is reported. Transmission electron microscopy imaging of cross-section films as-prepared and after electrochemical testing reveals a stable two-phase nanostructure composed of 3–5 nm diameter crystallites of fluorite CeO2 intimately mixed with 3–5 nm crystallites of transition metal oxides alloyed in the rock salt NiO structure. Dosing experiments demonstrate that an electron flux greater than ≈1000 e Å−2 s−1 causes the inherently crystalline material to become amorphous. A very low dose rate of 130 e Å−2 s−1 is employed for atomic resolution imaging using inline holography techniques to reveal a nanostructure in which the transition metal oxide nanocrystals form atomically sharp boundaries with the ceria nanocrystals, and these results are corroborated with extensive synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy measurements. Ceria is a well-studied cocatalyst for other heterogeneous and electrochemical reactions, and our discovery introduces biphasic cocatalysis as a design concept for improved OER electrocatalysts.
Advanced Energy Materials 02/2015; 5(10). DOI:10.1002/aenm.201402307 · 16.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Monoclinic scheelite bismuth vanadate (m-BiVO4) is a promising semiconductor photoanode for photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting. Despite considerable recent progress in achieving improved photocurrents and photovoltages, there remain open questions about the basic optoelectronic properties of this material. Indeed, there is disagreement about the nature of its fundamental bandgap, with theoretical predictions and some experimental observations pointing to an indirect bandgap and other experimental studies to a direct bandgap. Knowledge of this property is critical for understanding light absorption and photocarrier properties, as well as for establishing rational approaches to improved efficiency. Here, experimental spectroscopic techniques are used to resolve this issue and provide a fundamental portrait of the optical properties of the material. Resonant inelastic X-ray scattering proves conclusively that m-BiVO4 is an indirect bandgap semiconductor. These measurements are supported by UV-vis absorption spectroscopy and spectroscopic ellipsometry, which confirm this finding and also indicate the presence of a direct transition located at 200 meV above the indirect one. The spectral dependence of the optical constants is determined by development of a photophysical model for the ellipsometric data. Photogenerated carrier dynamics are probed by transient absorption spectroscopy, which reveals a relatively long lifetime compared to other commonly utilized metal oxide photoanodes and is attributed to the indirect nature of the fundamental gap. The combination of strong visible light absorption and relatively long excited state lifetime provides the basis for the high performance that has been achieved from BiVO4 photoanodes for water splitting.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 01/2015; 119(6):150128160906008. DOI:10.1021/jp512169w · 4.77 Impact Factor