Fe(III) Docking-Activated Sites in Layered Birnessite for Efficient Water Oxidation

Min Ju, Zhuwen Chen, Hong Zhu, Rongming Cai, Zedong Lin, Yanpeng Chen, Yingjie Wang, Jiali Gao, Xia Long, Shihe Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Non-noble metal catalysts for promoting the sluggish kinetics of oxygen evolution reaction (OER) are essential to efficient water splitting for sustainable hydrogen production. Birnessite has a local atomic structure similar to that of an oxygen-evolving complex in photosystem II, while the catalytic activity of birnessite is far from satisfactory. Herein, we report a novel Fe-Birnessite (Fe-Bir) catalyst obtained by controlled Fe(III) intercalation- and docking-induced layer reconstruction. The reconstruction dramatically lowers the OER overpotential to 240 mV at 10 mA/cm2 and the Tafel slope to 33 mV/dec, making Fe-Bir the best of all the reported Bir-based catalysts, even on par with the best transition-metal-based OER catalysts. Experimental characterizations and molecular dynamics simulations elucidate that the catalyst features active Fe(III)-O-Mn(III) centers interfaced with ordered water molecules between neighboring layers, which lower reorganization energy and accelerate electron transfer. DFT calculations and kinetic measurements show non-concerted PCET steps conforming to a new OER mechanism, wherein the neighboring Fe(III) and Mn(III) synergistically co-adsorb OH∗ and O∗ intermediates with a substantially reduced O-O coupling activation energy. This work highlights the importance of elaborately engineering the confined interlayer environment of birnessite and more generally, layered materials, for efficient energy conversion catalysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11215-11226
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 24 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Chemical Society.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'Fe(III) Docking-Activated Sites in Layered Birnessite for Efficient Water Oxidation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this