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ACS Catal ; 12(6): 3256-3268, 2022 Mar 18.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35359579


Co oxides and oxyhydroxides have been studied extensively in the past as promising electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in neutral to alkaline media. Earlier studies showed the formation of an ultrathin CoO x (OH) y skin layer on Co3O4 at potentials above 1.15 V vs reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE), but the precise influence of this skin layer on the OER reactivity is still under debate. We present here a systematic study of epitaxial spinel-type Co3O4 films with defined (111) orientation, prepared on different substrates by electrodeposition or physical vapor deposition. The OER overpotential of these samples may vary up to 120 mV, corresponding to two orders of magnitude differences in current density, which cannot be accounted for by differences in the electrochemically active surface area. We demonstrate by a careful analysis of operando surface X-ray diffraction measurements that these differences are clearly correlated with the average thickness of the skin layer. The OER reactivity increases with the amount of formed skin layer, indicating that the entire three-dimensional skin layer is an OER-active interphase. Furthermore, a scaling relationship between the reaction centers in the skin layer and the OER activity is established. It suggests that two lattice sites are involved in the OER mechanism.

Rev Sci Instrum ; 89(11): 114101, 2018 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30501282


Model studies at complex, yet well-defined electrodes can provide a better understanding of electrocatalytic reactions. New experimental devices are required to prepare such model electrocatalysts with atomic-level control. In this work, we discuss the design of a new setup, which enables the preparation of well-defined electrocatalysts in ultra-high vacuum (UHV) using the full portfolio of surface science techniques. The setup allows for direct transfer of samples from UHV and the immersion into the electrolyte without contact to air. As a special feature, the single crystal sample is transferred without any sample holder, which makes the system easily compatible with most electrochemical in situ methods, specifically with electrochemical infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy, but also with other characterization methods such as single-crystal cyclic voltammetry, differential electrochemical mass spectrometry, or electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy. We demonstrate the preparation in UHV, the transfer in inert atmosphere, and the immersion into the electrolyte for a complex model catalyst that requires surface science methods for preparation. Specifically, we study Pt nanoparticles supported on well-ordered Co3O4(111) films which are grown on an Ir(100) single crystal. In comparison with reference experiments on Pt(111), the model catalyst shows a remarkably different adsorption and reaction behavior during CO electrooxidation in alkaline environments.

Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 20(36): 23702-23716, 2018 Sep 19.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30191927


We have studied particle size effects on atomically-defined model catalysts both in ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) and under electrochemical (EC) conditions in liquid electrolytes. The model catalysts were prepared in UHV by physical vapour deposition (PVD) of Pt onto an ordered Co3O4(111) film on Ir(100), yielding nanoparticles (NPs) with an average size from 10 to 500 atoms per particle (0.8 to 3 nm). The model systems were characterized in UHV using surface science methods including scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM), before transferring them out of the UHV and into the electrolyte without contact to ambient conditions. By X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) we show that the model surfaces are stable in the EC environment under the applied conditions (0.1 to 1 M phosphate buffer, pH 10, 0.33 to 1.03 VRHE). As a reference, we study Pt(111) under identical conditions. In UHV, we also investigated the adsorption of CO using infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (IRRAS). Under EC conditions, we performed equivalent experiments using EC infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (EC-IRRAS) in combination with cyclic voltammetry (CV). Characteristic differences were observed between the IR spectra under EC conditions and in UHV. Besides the red-shift induced by the interfacial electric field (Stark effect), the EC IR bands of CO on Pt(111) show a larger width (by a factor of 2) as a result of local variations in the CO environment and coupling to the electrolyte. The CO IR bands of the Pt NPs are even broader (by a factor of 5), which is attributed to local variations of the interfacial electric field at the NP surface. Further pronounced differences are observed between the spectra taken in UHV and in the electrolyte regarding the site occupation and its dependence on particle size. In UHV, adsorption at on-top sites is preferred on Pt(111) at low coverage and similar adsorption ratios of on-top and bridge-bonded CO are formed at saturation coverage. In sharp contrast, on-top adsorption of CO on Pt(111) is partially suppressed under EC conditions. This effect is attributed to the competitive adsorption of anions from the electrolyte and leads to a clear preference for bridge sites at higher potentials (>0.5 VRHE). For the Pt NPs, the situation is different and an increasing fraction of on-top CO is observed with decreasing particle size, both under EC conditions and in UHV. For the smallest particles (10-20 atoms) we do not detect any bridge-bonded CO. This change in site preference as a function of particle size is attributed to stronger on-top adsorption on low-coordinated Pt atoms of small Pt NPs. The effect leads to a clear preference for on-top adsorption in the electrolyte even at low CO coverage and over the full potential range studied.

Nat Mater ; 17(7): 592-598, 2018 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29867166


Electrocatalysis is at the heart of our future transition to a renewable energy system. Most energy storage and conversion technologies for renewables rely on electrocatalytic processes and, with increasing availability of cheap electrical energy from renewables, chemical production will witness electrification in the near future1-3. However, our fundamental understanding of electrocatalysis lags behind the field of classical heterogeneous catalysis that has been the dominating chemical technology for a long time. Here, we describe a new strategy to advance fundamental studies on electrocatalytic materials. We propose to 'electrify' complex oxide-based model catalysts made by surface science methods to explore electrocatalytic reactions in liquid electrolytes. We demonstrate the feasibility of this concept by transferring an atomically defined platinum/cobalt oxide model catalyst into the electrochemical environment while preserving its atomic surface structure. Using this approach, we explore particle size effects and identify hitherto unknown metal-support interactions that stabilize oxidized platinum at the nanoparticle interface. The metal-support interactions open a new synergistic reaction pathway that involves both metallic and oxidized platinum. Our results illustrate the potential of the concept, which makes available a systematic approach to build atomically defined model electrodes for fundamental electrocatalytic studies.

J Phys Chem Lett ; 9(11): 2763-2769, 2018 Jun 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29741895


Understanding the correlation between structure and reactivity of oxide surfaces is vital for the rational design of catalytic materials. In this work, we demonstrate the exceptional degree of structure sensitivity of the water dissociation reaction for one of the most important materials in catalysis and electrocatalysis. We studied H2O on two atomically defined cobalt oxide surfaces, CoO(100) and Co3O4(111). Both surfaces are terminated by O2- and Co2+ in different coordination. By infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy and synchrotron radiation photoelectron spectroscopy we show that H2O adsorbs molecularly on CoO(100), while it dissociates and forms very strongly bound OH and partially dissociated (H2O) n(OH) m clusters on Co3O4(111). We rationalize this structure dependence by the coordination number of surface Co2+. Our results show that specific well-ordered cobalt oxide surfaces interact very strongly with H2O whereas others do not. We propose that this structure dependence plays a key role in catalysis with cobalt oxide nanomaterials.