On the basis of density functional theory calculations, we compare the free energies of key intermediates in the water splitting reaction over transition metal oxide surfaces to those of the Mn cluster in photo system II. In spite of the very different environments in the enzyme system and on the inorganic catalyst surface of an acidic electrolysis cell, the thermochemical features of the catalysts can be directly compared. We suggest a simple test for a thermochemically optimal catalyst. We show that, although both the RuO2 surface and the Mn cluster in photo system II are quite close to optimal, the biological catalyst appears to be best.
|Journal||Journal of Physical Chemistry Part C: The Nanomaterials and Interfaces|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|