Insights into the Electrochemical Oxygen Evolution Reaction with ab Initio Calculations and Microkinetic Modeling: Beyond the Limiting Potential Volcano

Colin F. Dickens, Charlotte Kirk, Jens K. Nørskov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Density functional theory calculations are potentially useful for both understanding the activity of experimentally tested catalysts and screening for new catalyst materials. For electrochemical oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalysts, these analyses are usually performed considering only the thermodynamics of the reaction path, which typically consists of adsorbed OH*, O*, and OOH*. Scaling relationships between the stability of these intermediates lead to a limiting potential volcano whose optimum is constrained by the roughly constant offset between the binding energies of OH* and OOH*. In this work, we evaluate OER kinetics at rutile IrO2, RuO2, RhO2 , and PtO2 surfaces by computing reaction barriers with an explicit model of the electrochemical interface. We conclude that the kinetics of proton transfer between oxygen atoms at the surface and in the electrolyte is facile and that O-O bond formation is most likely rate-determining in all cases. Combining these results with a microkinetic model and a scaling relationship for the OOH* formation barrier, we construct a new activity volcano whose optimum is similar to that of the limiting potential volcano for typical current densities. This kinetic volcano is also shown to agree reasonably well with experimental observations. Based on this analysis, we propose a more precise requirement for improving OER catalysts beyond the state of the art: the transition state for OOH* formation must be stabilized as opposed to the fully formed OOH* final state as has been previously presumed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Volume123
Issue number31
Pages (from-to)18960-18977
Number of pages18
ISSN1932-7447
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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