Water splitting represents a promising technology for renewable energy conversion and storage, but it is greatly hindered by the kinetically sluggish oxygen evolution reaction (OER). Here, using Au-nanoparticle-decorated Ni(OH)2 nanosheets [Ni(OH)2-Au] as catalysts, we demonstrate that the photon-induced surface plasmon resonance (SPR) excitation on Au nanoparticles could significantly activate the OER catalysis, specifically achieving a more than 4-fold enhanced activity and meanwhile affording a markedly decreased overpotential of 270 mV at the current density of 10 mA cm-2 and a small Tafel slope of 35 mV dec-1 (no iR-correction), which is much better than those of the benchmark IrO2 and RuO2, as well as most Ni-based OER catalysts reported to date. The synergy of the enhanced generation of NiIII/IV active species and the improved charge transfer, both induced by hot-electron excitation on Au nanoparticles, is proposed to account for such a markedly increased activity. The SPR-enhanced OER catalysis could also be observed over cobalt oxide (CoO)-Au and iron oxy-hydroxide (FeOOH)-Au catalysts, suggesting the generality of this strategy. These findings highlight the possibility of activating OER catalysis by plasmonic excitation and could open new avenues toward the design of more-energy-efficient catalytic water oxidation systems with the assistance of light energy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry