Modifying redox properties and local bonding of Co3O4 by CeO2 enhances oxygen evolution catalysis in acid

Jinzhen Huang, Hongyuan Sheng, R. Dominic Ross, Jiecai Han, Xianjie Wang, Bo Song, Song Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

275 Scopus citations


AbstractDeveloping efficient and stable earth-abundant electrocatalysts for acidic oxygen evolution reaction is the bottleneck for water splitting using proton exchange membrane electrolyzers. Here, we show that nanocrystalline CeO2 in a Co3O4/CeO2 nanocomposite can modify the redox properties of Co3O4 and enhances its intrinsic oxygen evolution reaction activity, and combine electrochemical and structural characterizations including kinetic isotope effect, pH- and temperature-dependence, in situ Raman and ex situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy analyses to understand the origin. The local bonding environment of Co3O4 can be modified after the introduction of nanocrystalline CeO2, which allows the Co$^{III}$ species to be easily oxidized into catalytically active Co$^{IV}$ species, bypassing the potential-determining surface reconstruction process. Co3O4/CeO2 displays a comparable stability to Co3O4 thus breaks the activity/stability tradeoff. This work not only establishes an efficient earth-abundant catalysts for acidic oxygen evolution reaction, but also provides strategies for designing more active catalysts for other reactions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 24 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-11-21
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2017-CRG6-3453.02
Acknowledgements: This work is partially supported by University of Wisconsin–Madison UW2020 Initiative and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) OSR-2017-CRG6-3453.02. J. Z. H. thanks the China Scholarship Council (CSC) for fellowship support. B. S. thanks Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) Grant No. 51672057, 52072085, and 51722205 for support. H. S., R. D. R., and S. J. also thank the support from US NSF CHE-1955074. This research used resources of the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357. The XAS experiments were performed at the APS Beamline 10-BM-B. The authors acknowledge use of facilities and instrumentation at the UW-Madison Wisconsin Centers for Nanoscale Technology partially supported by the NSF through the University of Wisconsin Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (DMR-1720415).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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