Designing highly active and robust catalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction is key to improving the overall efficiency of the water splitting reaction. It has been previously demonstrated that evaporation induced self-assembly (EISA) can be used to synthesize highly porous and high surface area cerate-based fluorite nano catalysts, and that substitution of Ce with 50% rare earth (RE) cations significantly improves electrocatalyst activity. Herein, the defect structure of the best performing nano catalyst in the series are further explored, Nd2Ce2O7, with a combination of neutron diffraction and neutron pair distribution function analysis. It is found that Nd3 + cation substitution for Ce in the CeO2 fluorite lattice introduces higher levels of oxygen Frenkel defects and induces a partially reduced RE1.5Ce1.5O5 + x phase with oxygen vacancy ordering. Significantly, it is demonstrated that the concentration of oxygen Frenkel defects and improved electrocatalytic activity can be further enhanced by increasing the compositional complexity (number of RE cations involved) in the substitution. The resulting novel compositionally-complex fluorite– (La0.2Pr0.2Nd0.2Tb0.2Dy0.2)2Ce2O7 is shown to display a low OER overpotential of 210 mV at a current density of 10 mAcm−2 in 1M KOH, and excellent cycling stability. It is suggested that increasing the compositional complexity of fluorite nanocatalysts expands the ability to tailor catalyst design.



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American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, Grant 62728‐DNI3

Keywords and Phrases

compositionally complex oxide; high entropy oxide; mesoporous; nanocatalyst; oxygen evolution reaction

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1613-6829; 1613-6810

Document Type

Article - Journal

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Publication Date

01 Jan 2024