Jumi Bak, Hyung Bin Bae, Jaehoon Kim, Jihun Oh, and Sung-Yoon Chung*
Nano Lett. 2017, 17, 3126-3132
First published: 10 April 2017
Atomic-scale direct probing of active sites and subsequent elucidation of the structure−activity relationship are important issues involving oxide-based electrocatalysts to achieve better electrochemical conversion efficiency. By generating Ruddlesden−Popper (RP) two-dimensional homologous faults via simple control of the cation nonstoichiometry in LaNiO3 thin films, we demonstrate that strong tetragonal distortion of [NiO6] octahedra is induced by more than 20% elongation of Ni−O bonds in the faults. In addition to direct visualization of the elongation by scanning transmission electron microscopy, we identify that the distorted [NiO6] octahedra in the faults show considerably higher electrocatalytic activities than other surface sites during the electrochemical oxygen evolution reaction. This unequivocal evidence of the octahedral distortion and its impact on electrocatalysis in LaNiO3 suggests that the formation of RP-type faults can provide an efficient way to control the octahedral geometry and thereby remarkably enhance the oxygen catalytic performance of perovskite oxides.