Cosputtered Calcium Manganese Oxide Electrodes for Water Oxidation

Hamed Simchi, Kayla A. Cooley, Jonas Ohms, Lingqin Huang, Philipp Kurz, Suzanne E. Mohney

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21 Scopus citations


Calcium manganese oxide films were prepared by cosputter deposition from Mn and CaMnO3 targets and evaluated for their suitability as catalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed a compact morphology for the as-deposited films and the formation of nanorodlike features on the surfaces after annealing at 600 °C. X-ray-photoelectron-spectroscopy analysis showed that the surface oxidation state is close to +III (as in Mn2O3) for the as-deposited films and increases slightly to a mixture of III and IV after annealing occurs in dry air at 400-600 °C. Glancing-incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXRD) suggested that the CaMnxOy films are amorphous even when heated to 600 °C. However, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed that there is actually a polycrystalline component of the film, which best matches Mn3O4 (hausmannite with the average Mn oxidation state of ∼+2.7) but may have a slightly expanded unit cell because of the incorporation of Ca. Electrochemical analyses revealed that the as-deposited CaMnxOy films were OER-inactive. In contrast, annealing at 400 or 600 °C resulted in an increase of ∼15-fold in the current densities, which reached j ≅ 1.5 mA·cm-2 at OER overpotentials of η ≈ 550 mV in cyclic voltammetry (CV) sweeps. For the same η, annealed CaMnxOy electrodes also showed good electrochemical stabilities during 2 h of electrolysis, as rather constant steady-state current densities of j ≅ 0.4-0.5 mA·cm-2 were observed. The thicknesses and surface morphologies of the CaMnxOy films did not change during the electrochemical measurements, indicating that corrosion was negligible. In comparison with a previous study in which Ca-free thin layers of MnOx were evaluated, the results demonstrate that Ca2+ incorporation can enhance the OER activity of MnOx electrocatalysts prepared by sputter deposition. This work provides guidance for designing new electrodes for water oxidation on the basis of the abundant and nontoxic elements manganese and calcium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-792
Number of pages8
JournalInorganic chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 16 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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