Synergistic Amplification of Water Oxidation Catalysis on Pt by a Thin-Film Conducting Polymer Composite

Mohammed Alsultan, Sivakumar Balakrishnan, Jaecheol Choi, Rouhollah Jalili, Prerna Tiwari, Pawel Wagner, Gerhard F. Swiegers

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Despite their potential for facilitating high activity, thin-film conducting polymer supports have, historically, expedited only relatively weak performances in catalytic water oxidation (with current densities in the μA/cm 2 range). In this work, we have investigated the conditions under which thin-film conducting polymers may synergistically amplify catalysis. A composite conducting polymer film has been developed that, when overcoated on a bare Pt electrode, amplifies its catalytic performance by an order of magnitude (into the mA/cm 2 range). When poised at 0.80 V (vs Ag/AgCl) at pH 12, a control, bare Pt electrode yielded a current density of 0.15 mA/cm 2 for catalytic water oxidation. When then overcoated with a composite poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) film containing nanoparticulate Ni (nano-Ni) catalyst and reduced graphene oxide (rGO) conductor in the specific molar ratio of 4.5 (C; PEDOT): 1 (Ni): 9.5 (C; other), the electrode generated water oxidation current densities of 1.10-1.15 mA/cm 2 under the same conditions (over >50 h of operation; including a photocurrent of 0.55 mA/cm 2 under light illumination of 0.25 sun). Control films containing other combinations of the above components, yielded notably lower currents. These conditions represent the most favorable for water oxidation at which PEDOT does not degrade. Studies suggested that the above composite contained an optimum ratio of catalyst density to conductivity and thickness in which the PEDOT electrically connected the largest number of catalytic sites (thereby maximizing the catalytically active area) by the shortest, least-resistive pathway (thereby minimizing the Tafel slope). That is, the amplification appeared to be created by a synergistic matching of the connectivity, conductivity, and catalytic capacity of the film. This approach provides a potential means for more effectively deploying thin-film conducting polymers as catalyst supports.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4235-4246
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • catalyst
  • oxygen
  • photocatalyst
  • water oxidation

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