Activating Inert ZnO by Surface Cobalt Doping for Efficient Water Oxidation in Neutral Media

Chao Meng, Yuan Feng Gao, Xue Min Chen, Yu Xia Li, Meng Chang Lin, Yue Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Precisely modulating the electronic structure of catalytic sites represents a promising strategy to design highly efficient electrocatalysts toward oxygen evolution reaction (OER). Here, the non-noble metal Co is successfully doped into the surface layer of ZnO and the doping concentration can be controllably adjusted by a partial cation exchange method. Our experimental and theoretical results demonstrate that the surface-doped Co can not only activate the inherently inert Zn sites by modifying their electronic structure and thereby promoting the OH∗ adsorption but also serve as active sites themselves for the adsorption of O∗ and OOH*, ultimately realizing the bimetallic synergetic effect in Co/ZnO for OER catalysis. Besides, the surface Co doping also benefits the obvious enhancement of electrical conductivity of the ZnO host. Therefore, relative to the inactive ZnO, the as-prepared Co/ZnO exhibits a much smaller overpotential and Tafel slope toward OER. This strategy provides a rational design of low-cost and efficient OER electrocatalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18055-18060
Number of pages6
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 4 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • bimetallic synergetic effect
  • electrocatalysts
  • electronic structure
  • oxygen evolution reaction
  • surface doping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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