Structural Dynamism in Manganese Oxides in the Potential Regime for Water Oxidation: A SERS Study

Tuesday, 26 May 2015: 15:00
Conference Room 4B (Hilton Chicago)
C. Ranjan (Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion)
Non noble metal "earth abundant" electrocatalysts will significantly reduce the costs and make it possible to use electrochemical water splitting (electrolysis) on a very large scale. Non noble metal catalysts can be an effective replacement even if their electrochemical activities are a fraction of their noble metal counterparts. If these catalysts can be developed to an extent where their operational lifetime would become comparable to their noble metal counterparts, a large part of the problem would be solved. MnO2 is earth abundant and well known for catalyzing oxygen evolution. A form of MnOx cluster is known to catalyze water oxidation in photosynthesis. These catalysts although with immense potential remain a long way from successful implementation within electrolysers. In order to understand the limitations of this catalyst under the operational conditions, it is important to study this material in situ. Setup for in situ Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy is used for tracking the structural changes of hydrous MnOx. Electrodeposition of MnOx on the surface of Au was achieved by passing an anodic current of 50 mC/cm2 at 1,6V.

The resulting MnO2 phase could be termed as the alpha/MnO2 phase. The structural integrity of the MnOx was studied by following the Mn-O-Mn stretching various potential ranges in various electrolytes. Onset of phase changes and corrosion could be clearly established. Beside this, other methods such as XRD, SEM, TEM were applied to study these thin films. Depending upon the nature of electrolyte the catalyst acquired a specific structure.