XPS determination of Mn oxidation states in Mn (hydr)oxides

Eugene S. Ilton, Jeffrey E. Post, Peter J. Heaney, Florence T. Ling, Sebastien N. Kerisit

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Hydrous manganese oxides are an important class of minerals that help regulate the geochemical redox cycle in near-surface environments and are also considered to be promising catalysts for energy applications such as the oxidation of water. A complete characterization of these minerals is required to better understand their catalytic and redox activity. In this contribution an empirical methodology using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) is developed to quantify the oxidation state of hydrous multivalent manganese oxides with an emphasis on birnessite, a layered structure that occurs commonly in soils but is also the oxidized endmember in biomimetic water-oxidation catalysts. The Mn2p 3/2 , Mn3p, and Mn3s lines of near monovalent Mn(II), Mn(III), and Mn(IV) oxides were fit with component peaks; after the best fit was obtained the relative widths, heights and binding energies of the components were fixed. Unknown multivalent samples were fit such that binding energies, intensities, and peak-widths of each oxidation state, composed of a packet of correlated component peaks, were allowed to vary. Peak-widths were constrained to maintain the difference between the standards. Both average and individual mole fraction oxidation states for all three energy levels were strongly correlated, with close agreement between Mn3s and Mn3p analyses, whereas calculations based on the Mn2p 3/2 spectra gave systematically more reduced results. Limited stoichiometric analyses were consistent with Mn3p and Mn3s. Further, evidence indicates the shape of the Mn3p line was less sensitive to the bonding environment than that for Mn2p. Consequently, fitting the Mn3p and Mn3s lines yielded robust quantification of oxidation states over a range of Mn (hydr)oxide phases. In contrast, a common method for determining oxidation states that utilizes the multiplet splitting of the Mn3s line was found to be not appropriate for birnessites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-485
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Surface Science
StatePublished - Mar 15 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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