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Spectroscopic Studies of Nanoparticulate Thin Films of a Cobalt-Based Oxygen Evolution Catalyst

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journal contribution
posted on 31.07.2014, 00:00 by Yi Liu, Daniel G. Nocera
Nanoparticle (NP) cobalt–phosphate (Co-Pi) water oxidation catalysts are prepared as thin films by anodic electrodeposition from solutions of Co2+ dissolved in proton-accepting electrolytes. Compositional and structural insight into the nature of the catalyst film is provided from advanced spectroscopy. Infrared spectra demonstrate that counteranions incorporate into the Co-Pi thin films and that the phosphate ion, among various anion electrolytes, exhibits the highest binding affinity to the cobalt centers. Atomic force microscopy images show a highly porous morphology of the thin film that is composed of Co-Pi NPs. Whereas conventional X-ray powder diffraction technique shows catalyst films to be amorphous, synchrotron-based X-ray grazing incidence diffraction reveals well-defined diffraction patterns that are indicative of long-range ordering within the film. Azimuthal scans imply that as-prepared films possess a highly preferred orientation and texture on the electrode surface.