Comparison of Amorphous Iridium Water-Oxidation Electrocatalysts Prepared from Soluble Precursors
Department of Chemistry, Yale University, P.O. Box 208107, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8107, USA.Inorganic Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.76). 06/2012; 51(14):7749-63. DOI: 10.1021/ic300764f
Electrodeposition of iridium oxide layers from soluble precursors provides a route to active thin-layer electrocatalysts for use on water-oxidizing anodes. Certain organometallic half-sandwich aqua complexes of iridium form stable and highly active oxide films upon electrochemical oxidation in aqueous solution. The catalyst films appear as blue layers on the anode when sufficiently thick, and most closely resemble hydrous iridium(III,IV) oxide by voltammetry. The deposition rate and cyclic voltammetric response of the electrodeposited material depend on whether the precursor complex contains a pentamethylcyclopentadieneyl (Cp*) or cyclopentadienyl ligand (Cp), and do not match, in either case, iridium oxide anodes prepared from non-organometallic precursors. Here, we survey our organometallic precursors, iridium hydroxide, and pre-formed iridium oxide nanoparticles. From electrochemical quartz crystal nanobalance (EQCN) studies, we find differences in the rate of electrodeposition of catalyst layers from the two half-sandwich precursors; however, the resulting layers operate as water-oxidizing anodes with indistinguishable overpotentials and H/D isotope effects. Furthermore, using the mass data collected by EQCN and not otherwise available, we show that the electrodeposited materials are excellent catalysts for the water-oxidation reaction, showing maximum turnover frequencies greater than 0.5 mol O(2) (mol iridium)(-1) s(-1) and quantitative conversion of current to product dioxygen. Importantly, these anodes maintain their high activity and robustness at very low iridium loadings. Our organometallic precursors contrast with pre-formed iridium oxide nanoparticles, which form an unstable electrodeposited material that is not stably adherent to the anode surface at even moderately oxidizing potentials.
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ABSTRACT: Catalysis is a key enabling technology for solar fuel generation. A number of catalytic systems, either molecular/homogeneous or solid/heterogeneous, have been developed during the last few decades for both the reductive and oxidative multi-electron reactions required for fuel production from water or CO(2) as renewable raw materials. While allowing for a fine tuning of the catalytic properties through ligand design, molecular approaches are frequently criticized because of the inherent fragility of the resulting catalysts, when exposed to extreme redox potentials. In a number of cases, it has been clearly established that the true catalytic species is heterogeneous in nature, arising from the transformation of the initial molecular species, which should rather be considered as a pre-catalyst. Whether such a situation is general or not is a matter of debate in the community. In this review, covering water oxidation and reduction catalysts, involving noble and non-noble metal ions, we limit our discussion to the cases in which this issue has been directly and properly addressed as well as those requiring more confirmation. The methodologies proposed for discriminating homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis are inspired in part by those previously discussed by Finke in the case of homogeneous hydrogenation reaction in organometallic chemistry [J. A. Widegren and R. G. Finke, J. Mol. Catal. A, 2003, 198, 317-341].
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ABSTRACT: A thin layer of an amorphous, mixed-valence iridium oxide (electrodeposited from an organometallic precursor, [Cp*Ir(H(2)O)(3)](2+)) is a heterogeneous catalyst among the most active and stable currently available for electrochemical water oxidation. We show that buffers can improve the oxygen-evolution activity of such thin-layer catalysts near neutral pH, but that buffer identity and concentration, as well as the solution pH, remain key determinants of long-term electrocatalyst activity and stability; for example, phosphate buffer can reduce the overpotential by up to 173 mV.
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ABSTRACT: Upon electrochemical oxidation of the precursor complexes [Cp*Ir(H2O)3]SO4 (1) or [(Cp*Ir)2(OH)3]OH (2) (Cp* = pentamethylcyclopentadienyl), a blue layer of amorphous iridium oxide containing a carbon admixture (BL) is deposited onto the anode. The solid-state, amorphous iridium oxide material that is formed from the molecular precursors is significantly more active for water-oxidation catalysis than crystalline IrO2 and functions as a remarkably robust catalyst, capable of catalyzing water oxidation without deactivation or significant corrosion for at least 70 h. Elemental analysis reveals that BL contains carbon that is derived from the Cp* ligand (∼ 3% by mass after prolonged electrolysis). Because the electrodeposition of precursors 1 or 2 gives a highly active catalyst material, and electrochemical oxidation of other iridium complexes seems not to result in immediate conversion to iridium oxide materials, we investigate here the nature of the deposited material. The steps leading to the formation of BL and its structure have been investigated by a combination of spectroscopic and theoretical methods. IR spectroscopy shows that the carbon content of BL, while containing some C-H bonds intact at short times, is composed primarily of components with C=O fragments at longer times. X-ray absorption and X-ray absorption fine structure show that, on average, the six ligands to iridium in BL are likely oxygen atoms, consistent with formation of iridium oxide under the oxidizing conditions. High-energy X-ray scattering (HEXS) and pair distribution function (PDF) analysis (obtained ex situ on powder samples) show that BL is largely free of the molecular precursors and is composed of small, <7 Å, iridium oxide domains. Density functional theory (DFT) modeling of the X-ray data suggests a limited set of final components in BL; ketomalonate has been chosen as a model fragment because it gives a good fit to the HEXS-PDF data and is a potential decomposition product of Cp*.
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