Understanding the Stability of Manganese Chromium Antimonate Electrocatalysts through Multimodal In Situ and Operando Measurements

Melissa E. Kreider, Gaurav A. Kamat, Jose A. Zamora Zeledon, Lingze Wei, Dimosthenis Sokaras, Alessandro Gallo, Michaela Burke Stevens, Thomas Jaramillo
Year of publication: 
Journal of the American Chemical Society

Improving electrocatalyst stability is critical for the development of electrocatalytic devices. Herein, we utilize an on-line electrochemical flow cell coupled with an inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) to characterize the impact of composition and reactant gas on the multielement dissolution of Mn(−Cr)–Sb–O electrocatalysts. Compared to Mn2O3 and Cr2O3 oxides, the antimonate framework stabilizes Mn at OER potentials and Cr at both ORR and OER potentials. Furthermore, dissolution of Mn and Cr from Mn(−Cr) −Sb–O is driven by the ORR reaction rate, with minimal dissolution under N2. We observe preferential dissolution of Cr totaling 13% over 10 min at 0.3, 0.6, and 0.9 V vs RHE, with only 1.5% loss of Mn, indicating an enrichment of Mn at the surface of the particles. Despite this asymmetric dissolution, operando X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) showed no measurable changes in the Mn K-edge at comparable potentials. This could suggest that modification to the Mn oxidation state and/or phase in the surface layer is too small or that the layer is too thin to be measured with the bulk XAS measurement. Lastly, on-line ICP-MS was used to assess the effects of applied potential, scan rate, and current on Mn–Cr–Sb–O during cyclic voltammetry and accelerated stress tests. With this deeper understanding of the interplay between oxygen reduction and dissolution, testing procedures were identified to maximize both activity and stability. This work highlights the use of multimodal in situ characterization techniques in tandem to build a more complete model of stability and develop protocols for optimizing catalyst performance.

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