Heteroanionic materials exhibit great structural diversity with adjustable electronic, magnetic, and optical properties that provide immense opportunities for materials design. Within this material family, perovskite oxynitrides incorporate earth-abundant nitrogen with differing size, electronegativity, and charge into oxide, enabling a unique approach to tuning metal-anion covalency and energy of metal cation electronic states, thereby achieving functionality that may be inaccessible from their perovskite oxide counterparts, which have been widely studied as electrocatalysts. However, it is very challenging to directly obtain such materials due to the poor thermal stability of late transition metals coordinated with N and/or at high valence states. Herein, we introduce an effective strategy to prepare a perovskite oxynitride with a small fraction of sites substituted with Ir and adopt it as the first electrocatalyst in this material family, thereby enabling high activity and efficient utilization of precious metal content. From a series of characterization techniques, including X-ray absorption spectroscopy, atomic resolution electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction, we prove the successful incorporation of Ir into a strontium tungsten oxynitride perovskite structure and discover the formation of a unique Ir-N/O coordination structure. Benefitting from this, the material exhibits a high activity toward the hydrogen evolution reaction, which exhibits an ultralow overpotential of only 8 mV to reach 10 mA/cm2geo in 0.5 M H2SO4 and 4.5-fold enhanced mass activity compared to commercial Pt/C. This work opens a new avenue for oxynitride material synthesis as well as pursuit of a new class of high-performance electrocatalysts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry