Improving water oxidation performance by implementing heterointerfaces between ceria and metal-oxide nanoparticles

Zahra Albu, Fahad Alzaid, Salma AlQahtani, Nawal Al Abass, Feriah Alenazey, Ibrahim Allehyani, Bandar AlOtaibi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The main technical challenge for the electrolytic production of hydrogen via water splitting lies in realizing a very stable material that effectively oxidizes water under low overpotential (η). Of all materials, metal oxides hold the greatest promise due to their inherited chemical stability in aqueous solutions; however, electrolytic effectiveness in water oxidation reactions (OERs) is limited to precious metals. In this study, we designed metal oxide/metal oxide (MO/MO) nanoparticle heterointerfaces to offer more active sites and enhance the overall performance of the OER. To demonstrate this improvement, we synthesized and characterized CeO2/Co3O4, CeO2/CuO, and CeO2/NiO nanoparticles. In these structures, onset potential and photoactivity were significantly improved relative to a single MO. A cathodic shift of onset potential as high as ~0.4 or 0.3 V was recorded for CeO2/Co3O4 relative to CeO2 or Co3O4, respectively. This improvement was further investigated using density functional theory calculations, upon which adsorption preferability and reaction free energy at the CeO2/Co3O4 heterointerface were found to play significant roles in OER enhancement.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
StatePublished - Dec 25 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-06-14
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). For computer time, this work used the resources of the supercomputing laboratories at KACST and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. Z. Albu acknowledges Mr. Sultan Alenazi for his technical support.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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