Electrochemical O K-edge XAFS measurements using soft X-rays were performed with transmission mode at BL3U in the UVSOR Synchrotron, according to the previous works . A home-made electrochemical cell was used with Au/Cr/SiC thin film substrates as working electrodes, a Pt counter electrode, and a Ag/AgCl reference electrode. Co-KPi electrocatalyst was electrodeposited on the Au/Cr/SiC working electrode in potassium phosphate buffered electrolyte containing Co(NO3)2.
The O K-edge XAFS spectra for Co-KPi catalyst were taken under electrode potential control in potassium phosphate buffered electrolyte (Figure 1). At 0.0 V, an absorption peak attributed to oxygen species of CoOOH was detected around 531 eV. When the electrode potential was changed from 0.0 to 1.1 V, a new absorption peak assigned to oxygen species of CoO2 was observed around 529 eV, indicating that the part of CoOOH cluster was oxidized to CoO2 with the high-valent cobalt species (Co4+). Next, to discuss the relationship between spectroscopic result and catalytic activity, the O K-edge XAFS spectra were taken for the low active cobalt oxide catalysts with CoOOH local structures electrodeposited in a potassium acetate (Co-KOAc) or a potassium chloride (Co-KCl) aqueous solution. Then, the intensities of CoO2 species for Co-KOAc and Co-KCl were much lower than that for Co-KPi. Therefore, we found that Co-KPi can function as highly active OER electrocatalysts due to the presence of CoO2species.
 D. G. Nocera et al, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131, 2615 (2009).
 (a) D. G. Nocera et al, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132, 13692 (2010). (b) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 135, 6403 (2013).