Electro-oxidation of water on hematite: Effects of surface termination and oxygen vacancies investigated by first-principles
Journal article, 2015
The oxygen evolution reaction on hydroxyl- and oxygen-terminated hematite was investigated using first-principle calculations within a theoretical electrochemical framework. Both pristine hematite and hematite containing oxygen vacancies were considered. The onset potential was determined to be 1.79 V and 2.09 V vs. the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE) for the pristine hydroxyl- and oxygen-terminated hematite, respectively. The presence of oxygen vacancies in the hematite surface resulted in pronounced shifts of the onset potential to 3.09 V and 1.83 V. respectively. Electrochemical oxidation measurements conducted on thin-film hematite anodes, resulted in a measured onset potential of 1.66 V vs. RHE. Furthermore, the threshold potential between the hydroxyl- and oxygen-terminated hematite was determined as a function of pH. The results indicate that electrochemical water oxidation on hematite occurs on the oxygen-terminated hematite, containing oxygen vacancies.