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  • title: Competing oxygen evolution reaction mechanisms revealed by high-speed compressive Raman imaging
  • authors: Raj Pandya, Florian Dorchies, Davide Romanin, Sylvain Gigan, Alex W. Chin, Hilton B. Aguiar, Alexis Grimaud
  • year: 2022
  • 10.48550/arXiv.2211.05818

Transition metal oxides are state-of-the-art materials for catalysing the oxygen evolution reaction (OER), whose slow kinetics currently limit the efficiency of water electrolysis. However, microscale physicochemical heterogeneity between particles, dynamic reactions both in the bulk and at the surface, and an interplay between particle reactivity and electrolyte makes probing the OER challenging. Here, we overcome these limitations by applying state-of-the-art compressive Raman imaging to uncover competing bias-dependent mechanisms for the OER in a solid electrocatalyst, {\alpha}-Li2IrO3. By spatially and temporally tracking changes in the in- and out-of-plane Ir-O stretching modes - identified by density functional theory calculations - we follow catalytic activation and charge accumulation following ion exchange under a variety of electrolytes, particle compositions and cycling conditions. We extract velocities of phase fronts and demonstrate that at low overpotentials oxygen is evolved by the combination of an electrochemical-chemical mechanism and a classical electrocatalytic adsorbate mechanism, whereas at high overpotentials only the latter occurs. These results provide strategies to promote mechanisms for enhanced OER performances, and highlight the power of compressive Raman imaging for low-cost, chemically specific tracking of microscale reaction dynamics in a broad range of systems where ion and electron exchange can be coupled to structural changes, i.e. catalysts, battery materials, memristors, etc.


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