The role of Ir decoration in activating multi-scale fractal surface in porous Ni for the oxygen evolution reaction




Hao, Minghui
Assresahegn, Birhanu Desalegn
Abdellah, Ahmed
Miner, Lukas
Al Hejami, Ahmed
Zaker, Nafiseh
Gaudet, Julie
Roué, Lionel
Botton, Gianluigi A.
Beauchemin, Diane

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ACS Catalysis


Interfacial engineering of electrocatalysts is a pivotal approach for promoting the energy conversion efficiency of water electrolysis systems. Anchoring clusters or even single atoms of a foreign element on the surface of a support, usually 3D structured, can alter its local electronic structure leading to superior electrocatalytic activity. Herein, we report a method to decorate a 3D fractal Ni electrode with Ir atoms via a galvanic displacement reaction. The resulting electrode has a very low Ir loading of 1.6 μmole cmgeo^-2, with iridium atoms present as 4-5 nm diameter nanoclusters on the electrode surface. The activity for the electrochemical oxygen evolution reaction (OER) of the 3D fractal Ni electrode was improved by decoration with Ir, resulting in an overpotential of 195 mV at 10 mA cm^-2 and a Tafel slope of 44 mV dec^-1. Apart from increasing the electrocatalytic activity for the OER due to the very presence of more active iridium atoms, the galvanic displacement reaction resulted in a factor 8-10 increase of the electrochemically active surface area due to the creation/activation of a secondary pore structure that contributes also to the better electrocatalytic performance of the resulting electrode. Using operando acoustic emission, it is demonstrated that the galvanic displacement reaction and the presence of Ir nanoclusters have the additional effect of reducing the average O2 bubble size formed during the OER. As a result, the blocking effect of O2 bubbles at high current density is less drastic than on the 3D fractal Ni electrode, resulting in a less severe decrease of the electrochemically active area at large current density. All three effects contribute towards improving the OER performance of the Ir-decorated 3D fractal Ni electrode.



Gas-evolving reaction, Gas bubbles, Wettability, Porous electrode, Impedance, Ir incorporation, Alkaline water electrolysis


Hao, M., Assresahegn, B. D., Abdellah, A., Miner, L., Al Hejami, A., Zaker, N., . . . Guay, D. (2023). The role of Ir decoration in activating multi-scale fractal surface in porous Ni for the oxygen evolution reaction. ACS Catalysis, 13(1), 1726-1739.