Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 5;14(1):5402. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-41102-2.
Suppressing the oxidation of active-Ir(III) in IrOx catalysts is highly desirable to realize an efficient and durable oxygen evolution reaction in water electrolysis. Although charge replenishment from supports can be effective in preventing the oxidation of IrOx catalysts, most supports have inherently limited charge transfer capability. Here, we demonstrate that an excess electron reservoir, which is a charged oxygen species, incorporated in antimony-doped tin oxide supports can effectively control the Ir oxidation states by boosting the charge donations to IrOx catalysts. Both computational and experimental analyses reveal that the promoted charge transfer driven by excess electron reservoir is the key parameter for stabilizing the active-Ir(III) in IrOx catalysts. When used in a polymer electrolyte membrane water electrolyzer, Ir catalyst on excess electron reservoir incorporated support exhibited 75 times higher mass activity than commercial nanoparticle-based catalysts and outstanding long-term stability for 250 h with a marginal degradation under a water-splitting current of 1 A cm-2. Moreover, Ir-specific power (74.8 kW g-1) indicates its remarkable potential for realizing gigawatt-scale H2 production for the first time.