Metallic Inverse Opal Frameworks as Catalyst Supports for High-Performance Water Electrooxidation

Tam D. Nguyen, Dijon A. Hoogeveen, Pavel V. Cherepanov, Khang N. Dinh, Daniel van Zeil, Joseph F. Varga, Douglas R. MacFarlane, Alexandr N. Simonov

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2 Citations (Scopus)


High intrinsic activity of oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalysts is often limited by their low electrical conductivity. To address this, we introduce copper inverse opal (IO) frameworks offering a well-developed network of interconnected pores as highly conductive high-surface-area supports for thin catalytic coatings, for example, the extremely active but poorly conducting nickel-iron layered double hydroxides (NiFe LDH). Such composites exhibit significantly higher OER activity in 1 m KOH than NiFe LDH supported on a flat substrate or deposited as inverse opals. The NiFe LDH/Cu IO catalyst enables oxygen evolution rates of 100 mA cm−2 (727±4 A gcatalyst−1) at an overpotential of 0.305±0.003 V with a Tafel slope of 0.044±0.002 V dec−1. This high performance is achieved with 2.2±0.4 μm catalyst layers, suggesting compatibility of the inverse-opal-supported catalysts with membrane electrolyzers, in contrast to similarly performing 103-fold thicker electrodes based on foams and other substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202200858
Number of pages9
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2022


  • copper
  • electrical conductivity
  • layered double hydroxides
  • mass transport
  • oxygen evolution reaction

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