The oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is the key for oxygen-based respiration and the operation of fuel cells. It involves the transmission of two pairs of electrons. We probed what type of interaction between the electrons is required to enable their efficient transfer into the oxygen. We show experimentally that the transfer of the electrons is controlled by the “hidden property” and present a theoretical model suggesting that it is related to coherent phase relations between the two electrons. Using spin polarization electrochemical measurements, with electrodes coated with different thicknesses of chiral coating, we confirm the special relation between the electrons. This relation is destroyed by multiple scattering events that result in the formation of hydrogen peroxide, which indicates a reduction in the ORR efficiency. Another indication for the possible role of coherence is the fluctuations in the reaction efficiency as a function of thickness of the chiral coated electrode.
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© 2023 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.