A self-healing catalyst for electrocatalytic and photoelectrochemical oxygen evolution in highly alkaline conditions

Nat Commun. 2021 Oct 13;12(1):5980. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-26281-0.

ABSTRACT

While self-healing is considered a promising strategy to achieve long-term stability for oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalysts, this strategy remains a challenge for OER catalysts working in highly alkaline conditions. The self-healing of the OER-active nickel iron layered double hydroxides (NiFe-LDH) has not been successful due to irreversible leaching of Fe catalytic centers. Here, we investigate the introduction of cobalt (Co) into the NiFe-LDH as a promoter for in situ Fe redeposition. An active borate-intercalated NiCoFe-LDH catalyst is synthesized using electrodeposition and shows no degradation after OER tests at 10 mA cm-2 at pH 14 for 1000 h, demonstrating its self-healing ability under harsh OER conditions. Importantly, the presence of both ferrous ions and borate ions in the electrolyte is found to be crucial to the catalyst’s self-healing. Furthermore, the implementation of this catalyst in photoelectrochemical devices is demonstrated with an integrated silicon photoanode. The self-healing mechanism leads to a self-limiting catalyst thickness, which is ideal for integration with photoelectrodes since redeposition is not accompanied by increased parasitic light absorption.

PMID:34645825 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-021-26281-0

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