The exploitation of metal-free organic polymers as electrodes for water splitting reactions is limited by their presumably low activity and poor stability, especially for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) under more critical conditions. Now, the thickness of a cheap and robust polymer, poly(p-phenylene pyromellitimide) (PPPI) was rationally engineered by an in situ polymerization method to make the metal-free polymer available for the first time as flexible, tailorable, efficient, and ultra-stable electrodes for water oxidation over a wide pH range. The PPPI electrode with an optimized thickness of about 200 nm provided a current density of 32.8 mA cm−2 at an overpotential of 510 mV in 0.1 mol L−1 KOH, which is even higher than that (31.5 mA cm−2) of commercial IrO2 OER catalyst. The PPPI electrodes are scalable and stable, maintaining 92 % of its activity after a 48-h chronoamperometric stability test.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21722103, 21720102002, and 21673140), the Shanghai Basic Research Program (16JC1401600), the SJTU‐MPI partner group, the Shanghai Eastern Scholar Program, and the Shanghai Rising‐Star Program (16QA1402100).
© 2018 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
- energy transducers
- metal-free electrocatalysts
- oxygen evolution reaction
- polymer electrodes
- water splitting
ASJC Scopus subject areas