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The electronic structure of iridium and its oxides

Pfeifer, Verena; Jones, Travis E.; Velasco Vélez, Juan J.; Massué, Cyriac; Arrigo, Rosa; Teschner, Detre; Girgsdies, Frank; Scherzer, Michael; Greiner, Mark T.; Allan, Jasmin; Hashagen, Maike; Weinberg, Gisela; Piccinin, Simone; Hävecker, Michael; Knop-Gericke, Axel; Schlögl, Robert

Iridium-based materials are among the most active and stable electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction. Amorphous iridium oxide structures are found to be more active than their crystalline counterparts. Herein, we combine synchrotron-based Xray photoemission and absorption spectroscopies with theoretical calculations to investigate the electronic structure of Ir metal, rutile-type IrO2, and an amorphous IrOx. Theory and experiment show that while the Ir 4f line shape of Ir metal is well described by a simple Doniach–Šunji´c function, the peculiar line shape of rutile-type IrO2 requires the addition of a shake-up satellite 1 eV above the main line. In the catalytically more active amorphous IrOx, we find that additional intensity appears in the Ir 4f spectrum at higher binding energy when compared with rutile-type IrO2 along with a pre-edge feature in the OK-edge. We identify these additional features as electronic defects in the anionic and cationic frameworks, namely formally OI􀀀 and IrIII, which may explain the increased activity of amorphous IrOx electrocatalysts. We corroborate our findings by in situ X-ray diffraction as well as in situ X-ray photoemission and absorption spectroscopies.
Published in: Surface and interface analysis, 10.1002/sia.5895, Wiley