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Water Oxidation at Hematite Photoelectrodes with an Iridium-Based Catalyst

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Photovoltaics and Optoelectronic Devices Group, Departament de Física, and Departament de Química Inorgànica & Orgànica, Universitat Jaume I, 12071 Castelló, Spain
*(S.G.) +34964387554, [email protected]; (E.P.) +34964387518, [email protected]; (J.B.) +34964387541, [email protected]
Cite this: J. Phys. Chem. C 2013, 117, 8, 3826–3833
Publication Date (Web):January 31, 2013
Copyright © 2013 American Chemical Society

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    The iridium complex [Cp*Ir(H2O)3](SO4) was used as an organometallic source for the electrodeposition of iridium oxide onto Fe2O3. The new iridium-containing electrode allowed us to study the coupling between the photocatalytic properties of hematite and the electrocatalytic properties of the iridium-based material. A cathodic shift of the photocurrent for water oxidation upon electrodeposition of the iridium complex was observed, which increased with increasing surface concentration of IrOx on Fe2O3. The shift for the highest surface concentration of iridium tested amounts to 300 mV at 200 μA·cm–2 current density. The catalytic mechanism of the IrOx layer was unveiled by impedance spectroscopy measurements fitted to a physical model and can be explained on the basis of a highly capacitive layer, which enhances charge separation and stores photogenerated holes at Fe2O3, subsequently oxidizing water. These findings improve our understanding of the mechanism of water oxidation by heterogeneous Ir-based catalysts coupled to semiconductor electrodes.

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    XPS spectra, absorbance spectra of Fe2O3/IrOx films, comparison between cyclic voltammetry and steady-state jV curves for samples containing different concentrations of the iridium complex, consecutive cyclic voltammetry scans for Fe2O3/IrOx samples to rule out IrOx oxidation, physical model for water splitting with Fe2O3, examples of impedance spectra and fitting to the physical model, and relationship between photocurrent, charge transfer resistance, and capacitance. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at

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