Ir- and Ru-doped layered double hydroxides as affordable heterogeneous catalysts for electrochemical water oxidation†
Three M-doped LDHs (M = noble metal active site, LDH = layered double hydroxides; Ir-1, Ir-ZnAl; Ru, Ru-ZnAl; Ir-2, Ir-MgAl), containing small amounts of M (ca. 2 mol% and even <1 mol% for Ru and Ir, respectively), were prepared by following simple and established synthetic procedures. Their characterization indicates that M atoms are effectively incorporated into the brucite-like layers of LDH, without phase segregation. The resulting materials catalyse electrochemical water oxidation (WO), when immobilized in carbon paste electrodes, with performances that exceed those of the benchmark system IrO2, as probed by linear sweep voltammetry (LSV). Some of these catalysts undergo continuous activation upon chronoamperometric and chronopotentiometric treatments over several hours. The crystalline structure of all of them is preserved during electrocatalytic experiments, and no significant leaching of noble metal in solution is detected. The results herein reported highlight the remarkable potential of these doped M-LDHs and confirm that dispersing Ir and Ru centers in layered and cheap inorganic materials results in easily accessible metal centers, providing highly active catalysts, while minimizing the utilization of noble metals.