Highly active and durable electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) is greatly desired. Iridium oxide/graphitic carbon nitride (IrO2/GCN) heterostructures are designed with low-coordinate IrO2 nanoparticles (NPs) confined on superhydrophilic highly stable GCN nanosheets for efficient acidic OER. The GCN nanosheets not only ensure the homogeneous distribution and confinement of IrO2 NPs but also endows the heterostructured catalyst system with a superhydrophilic surface, which can maximize the exposure of active sites and promotes mass diffusion. The coordination number of Ir atoms is decreased owing to the strong interaction between IrO2 and GCN, leading to lattice strain and increment of electron density around Ir sites and hence modulating the attachment between the catalyst and reaction intermediates. The optimized IrO2/GCN heterostructure delivers not only by far the highest mass activity among the reported IrO2-based catalysts but also decent durability.
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