Effect of interlayer anions on [NiFe]-LDH nanosheet water oxidation activity†
We synthesized nickel–iron layered double hydroxide ([NiFe]-LDH) nanosheets with different interlayer anions to probe their role in water oxidation catalysis. In alkaline electrolyte in ambient air, carbonate rapidly replaced other interlayer anions and catalytic activity was highest. Electrocatalytic water oxidation in virtually carbonate-free alkaline electrolyte revealed that activity was a function of anion basicity. Our [NiFe]-LDH nanosheets, prepared by pulsed laser ablation in liquids, were regenerated in carbonate-containing aqueous KOH. Anion binding motifs were assessed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy in combination with density functional theory calculations, suggesting that nitrite species bound to edge-site Fe in the precatalyst correlated with higher water oxidation activity.