Mn–Co containing spinel oxides are promising, low‐cost electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). Most studies are devoted to the design of porous Mn–Co spinels or to strongly coupled hybrids (e.g., MnCo2O4/N‐doped‐rmGO) to maximize the mass efficiency. The lack of analyses by metal oxide intrinsic activity (activity normalized to catalysts' surface area) hinders the development of fundamental understanding of the physicochemical principles behind the catalytic activities. A systematic study on the composition dependence of ORR in ZnCoxMn2−xO4 (x = 0.0–2.0) spinel is presented here with special attention to the role of edge sharing [CoxMn1−xO6] octahedra in the spinel structure. The ORR specific activity of ZnCoxMn2−xO4 spans across a potential window of 200 mV, indicating an activity difference of ≈3 orders of magnitude. The curve of composition‐dependent ORR specific activity as a function of Co substitution exhibits a volcano shape with an optimum Mn/Co ratio of 0.43. It is revealed that the modulated eg occupancy of active Mn cations (0.3–0.9), as a consequence of the superexchange effect between edge sharing [CoO6] and [MnO6], reflects the ORR activity of edge sharing [CoxMn1−xO6] octahedra in the ZnCoxMn2−xO4 spinel oxide. These findings offer crucial insights in designing spinel oxide catalysts with fine‐tuned eg occupancy for efficient catalysis.
Advanced Materials – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
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