Journal of Applied Electrochemistry

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 315–325 | Cite as

Magnesium substituted cobalt spinel nanostructures for electrocatalytic water oxidation

  • Elif Ekebas
  • Asude Cetin
  • Ahmet M. Önal
  • Emren Nalbant EsenturkEmail author
Research Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Hydrogen production
  2. Hydrogen production


Two MgCo2O4 nanostructures in different morphologies have been synthesized by using two different structure-directing agents (urea (U) and nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA)) as new catalysts for water oxidation reactions. The properties of these nanostructures were discovered and characterized by a combination of analytical techniques, being TEM, SEM, EDX, XRD, XPS, and BET. While the urea-stabilized MgCo2O4 (U-MgCo2O4) nanostructures have spiky morphology, the NTA- stabilized ones (NTA-MgCo2O4) have wire-like structures. The synthesized nanostructures were utilized to modify glassy carbon electrodes (GCEs), and the electrochemical activities of the modified electrodes in water oxidation reactions were investigated in an alkaline medium by recording linear sweep voltammograms (LSVs). Even though both modified GCEs had almost the same onset potentials (1.67 V vs. RHE for U-MgCo2O4/GCE and 1.63 V vs. RHE for NTA-MgCo2O4/GCE), NTA-MgCo2O4/GCE required a lower overpotential (463 mV vs. 573 mV) to drive 10 mA cm− 2 catalytic current density. Besides being catalytically more active than U-MgCo2O4/GCE, NTA-MgCo2O4/GCE was also found to be more stable in constant potential electrolysis. Moreover, it demonstrated a comparable performance to that of RuO2 and has the advantage of being significantly economic.

Graphical abstract


Water oxidation Oxygen evolution Spinel MgCo2O4 Metal oxide 



We acknowledge the support from TUBITAK, Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, Project: 117Z384. We also acknowledge Prof. Aysen Yilmaz for access to XRD instrument in METU Department of Chemistry.

Supplementary material

10800_2018_1285_MOESM1_ESM.docx (214 kb)
EDX spectra, XPS survey spectra, N2 adsorption isotherm and TOF calculations of U-MgCo2O4 and NTA-MgCo2O4 nanostructures. (DOCX 214 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryMiddle East Technical UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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