Increasing Iridium Oxide Activity for the Oxygen Evolution Reaction with Hafnium Modification

Fang Zhao, Bo Wen, Wenhan Niu, Zhu Chen, Chao Yan, Annabella Selloni, Christopher G. Tully, Xiaofang Yang, Bruce E. Koel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Synthesis and implementation of highly active, stable, and affordable electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) is a major challenge in developing energy efficient and economically viable energy conversion devices such as electrolyzers, rechargeable metal-air batteries, and regenerative fuel cells. The current benchmark electrocatalyst for OER is based on iridium oxide (IrOx) due to its superior performance and excellent stability. However, large scale applications using IrOx are impractical due to its low abundance and high cost. Herein, we report a highly active hafnium-modified iridium oxide (IrHfxOy) electrocatalyst for OER. The IrHfxOy electrocatalyst demonstrated ten times higher activity in alkaline conditions (pH = 11) and four times higher activity in acid conditions (pH = 1) than a IrOx electrocatalyst. The highest intrinsic mass activity of the IrHfxOy catalyst in acid conditions was calculated as 6950 A gIrOx-1 at an overpotential (η) of 0.3 V. Combined studies utilizing operando surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and DFT calculations revealed that the active sites for OER are the Ir-O species for both IrOx and IrHfxOy catalysts. The presence of Hf sites leads to more negative charge states on nearby O sites, shortening of the bond lengths of Ir-O, and lowers free energies for OER intermediates that accelerate the OER process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15616-15623
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 29 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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