Observing the oxidation state turnover in heterogeneous iridium-based water oxidation catalysts
In this work the oxidation states assumed by Ir in oxide systems used as heterogeneous catalysts for water oxidation are determined by means of in situ X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS). Using a highly hydrated iridium oxide film allows the maximum number of Ir sites to be involved in the electrochemical processes occurring at the catalysts during water oxidation (oxygen evolution reaction, OER). X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure (XANES) spectra clearly indicate the co-existence of Ir(III) and Ir(V) at the electrode potentials where OER occurs. This represents a fundamental step both in the understanding of the water oxidation mechanism catalysed by heterogeneous Ir oxide systems, and in the possible tailoring of electrocatalysts for OER.