Metal Substitution Steering Electron Correlations in Pyrochlore Ruthenates for Efficient Acidic Water Oxidation

Ning Zhang, Cong Wang, Jiewei Chen, Canyu Hu, Jun Ma, Xi Deng, Bocheng Qiu, Lejuan Cai, Yujie Xiong, Yang Chai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Exploring the advanced oxygen evolution reaction (OER) electrocatalysts is highly desirable toward sustainable energy conversion and storage, yet improved efficiency in acidic media is largely hindered by its sluggish reaction kinetics. Herein, we rationally manipulate the electronic states of the strongly electron correlated pyrochlore ruthenate Y2Ru2O7 alternative through partial A-site substitution of Sr2+ for Y3+, efficiently improving its intrinsic OER activity. The optimized Y1.7Sr0.3Ru2O7 candidate observes a highly intrinsic mass activity of 1018 A gRu-1 at an overpotential of 300 mV with excellent durability in 0.5 M H2SO4 electrolyte. Combining synchrotron-radiation X-ray spectroscopic investigations with theoretical simulations, we reveal that the electron correlations in the Ru 4d band are weakened through coordinatively geometric regulation and charge redistribution by the exotic Sr2+ cation, enabling the delocalization of Ru 4d electrons via an insulator-to-metal transition. The induced Ru-O covalency promotion and band alignment rearrangement decreases the charge transfer energy to accelerate interfacial charge transfer kinetics. Meanwhile, the chemical affinity of oxygen intermediates is also rationalized to weaken the metal-oxygen binding strength, thus lowering the energy barrier of the overall reaction. This work offers fresh insights into designing advanced solid-state electrocatalysts and underlines the versatility of electronic structure manipulation in tuning catalytic activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8537–8548
Number of pages12
JournalACS Nano
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2021


  • acidic OER
  • cationic substitution
  • charge transfer
  • chemical affinity
  • electron correlations
  • pyrochlore ruthenate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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