Oxygen electrochemistry plays a key role in renewable energy technologies such as fuel cells and electrolyzers, but the slow kinetics of the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) limit the performance and commercialization of such devices. Here we report an iridium oxide/strontium iridium oxide (IrOx/SrIrO3) catalyst formed during electrochemical testing by strontium leaching from surface layers of thin films of SrIrO3. This catalyst has demonstrated specific activity at 10 milliamps per square centimeter of oxide catalyst (OER current normalized to catalyst surface area), with only 270 to 290 millivolts of overpotential for 30 hours of continuous testing in acidic electrolyte. Density functional theory calculations suggest the formation of highly active surface layers during strontium leaching with IrO3or anatase IrO2motifs. The IrOx/SrIrO3catalyst outperforms known IrOxand ruthenium oxide (RuOx) systems, the only other OER catalysts that have reasonable activity in acidic electrolyte.
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