Electrosynthesis of highly transparent cobalt oxide water oxidation catalyst films from cobalt aminopolycarboxylate complexes

Shannon Bonke, Mathias Wiechen, Rosalie Katherine Hocking, Xi-Ya Fang, David Lupton, Douglas Robert Macfarlane, Leone Spiccia

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Efficient catalysis of water oxidation represents one of the major challenges en route to efficient sunlight-driven water splitting. Cobalt oxides (CoOx) have been widely investigated as water oxidation catalysts, although the incorporation of these materials into photoelectrochemical devices has been hindered by a lack of transparency. Herein, the electrosynthesis of transparent CoOx catalyst films is described by utilizing cobalt(II) aminopolycarboxylate complexes as precursors to the oxide. These complexes allow control over the deposition rate and morphology to enable the production of thin, catalytic CoOx films on a conductive substrate, which can be exploited in integrated photoelectrochemical devices. Notably, under a bias of 1.0 V (vs. Ag/AgCl), the film deposited from [Co(NTA)(OH2)2]- (NTA=nitrilotriacetate) decreased the transmission by only 10 at ?=500 nm, but still generated >80 of the water oxidation current produced by a [Co(OH2)6]2+-derived oxide film whose transmission was only 40 at ?=500 nm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1394-1403
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • cobalt
  • electrochemistry
  • energy conversion
  • heterogeneous catalysis
  • water splitting

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