Efficient Electrocatalytic Water Oxidation at Neutral and High pH by Adventitious Nickel at Nanomolar Concentrations

Symes, M.D. and Roger Barba, I. (2015) Efficient Electrocatalytic Water Oxidation at Neutral and High pH by Adventitious Nickel at Nanomolar Concentrations. [Data Collection]

Original publication URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.5b08139
Enlighten Publications URI: http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/111301

Collection description

Electrolytic water oxidation using earth-abundant elements is a key challenge in the quest to develop cheap, large surface area arrays for solar-to-hydrogen conversion. There have been numerous studies in this area in recent years, but there remains an imperative to demonstrate that the current densities reported are indeed due to the species under consideration, and not due to the presence of adventitious (yet possibly highly active) contaminants at low levels. Herein, we show that adventitious nickel at concentrations as low as 17 nM can act as a water oxidation catalyst in mildly basic aqueous solutions, achieving stable (tens of hours) current densities of 1 mA / cm2 at overpotentials as low as 540 mV at pH 9.2 and 400 mV at pH 13. This nickel was not added to the electrolysis baths deliberately, but was found to be present in the electrolytes as an impurity by ICP-MS. The presence of nickel on anodes from extended-time bulk electrolysis experiments was confirmed by XPS. In showing that such low levels of nickel can perform water oxidation at overpotentials comparable to many recently-reported water oxidation catalysts, this work serves to raise the burden of proof required of new materials in this field: contamination by adventitious metal ions at trace loadings must be excluded as a possible cause of any observed water oxidation activity.

College / School: College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2015 17:27
Enlighten Publications URL: http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/111301/
Retention date: October 2025
Funder's Name: Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
URI: http://researchdata.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/227

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Symes, M.D. and Roger Barba, I. (2015); Efficient Electrocatalytic Water Oxidation at Neutral and High pH by Adventitious Nickel at Nanomolar Concentrations

University of Glasgow

10.5525/gla.researchdata.227

Retrieved: 2017-11-20

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