Water oxidation is the step limiting the efficiency of electrocatalytic hydrogen production from water. Spectroelectro-chemical analyzes are employed to make a direct comparison of water oxidation reaction kinetics between a molecu-lar catalyst, the dimeric iridium catalyst [Ir2(pyalc)2(H2O)4-(µ-O)]2+ (IrMolecular, pyalc = 2-(2’pyridinyl)-2-propanolate) immobilized on a mesoporous indium tin oxide (ITO) substrate, with that of an heterogenous electrocatalyst, an amorphous hydrous iridium (IrOx) film. For both systems, four analogous redox states were detected, with the for-mation of Ir(4+)-Ir(5+) being the potential-determining step in both cases. However, the two systems exhibit distinct water oxidation reaction kinetics, with potential-independent first-order kinetics for IrMolecular contrasting with poten-tial-dependent kinetics for IrOx. This is attributed to water oxidation on the heterogenous catalyst requiring co-operative effects between neighboring oxidized Ir centers. The ability of IrMolecular to drive water oxidation without such co-operative effects is explained by the specific coordination environment around its Ir centers. These distinc-tions between molecular and heterogenous reaction kinetics are shown to explain the differences observed in their water oxidation electrocatalytic performance under different potential conditions.
Supporting Figures S1-11 and Table S1