Exfoliation of layered double hydroxides for enhanced oxygen evolution catalysis
The oxygen evolution reaction is a key reaction in water splitting. The common approach in the development of oxygen evolution catalysts is to search for catalytic materials with new and optimized chemical compositions and structures. Here we report an orthogonal approach to improve the activity of catalysts without alternating their compositions or structures. Specifically, liquid phase exfoliation is applied to enhance the oxygen evolution activity of layered double hydroxides. The exfoliated single-layer nanosheets exhibit significantly higher oxygen evolution activity than the corresponding bulk layered double hydroxides in alkaline conditions. The nanosheets from nickel iron and nickel cobalt layered double hydroxides outperform a commercial iridium dioxide catalyst in both activity and stability. The exfoliation creates more active sites and improves the electronic conductivity. This work demonstrates the promising catalytic activity of single-layered double hydroxides for the oxygen evolution reaction.