Driving the Oxygen Evolution Reaction by Nonlinear Cooperativity in Bimetallic Coordination Catalysts
Developing efficient catalysts for electrolysis, in particular for the oxygen evolution in the anodic half cell reaction, is an important challenge in energy conversion technologies. By taking inspiration from the catalytic properties of single-atom catalysts and metallo-proteins, we exploit the potential of metal organic networks as electrocatalysts in the oxygen evolution reaction (OER). A dramatic enhancement of the catalytic activity toward the production of oxygen by nearly 2 orders of magnitude is demonstrated for novel hetero-bimetallic organic catalysts compared to metallo-porphyrins. Using a supramolecular approach we deliberately place single iron and cobalt atoms in either of two different coordination environments and observe a highly nonlinear increase in the catalytic activity depending on the coordination spheres of Fe and Co. Catalysis sets in at about 300 mV overpotential with high turnover frequencies that outperform other metal organic catalysts like the prototypical hangman porphyrins.