Is Cu instability during the CO2reduction reaction governed by the applied potential or the local CO concentration?

Wilde, P. and O'Mara, P.B. and Junqueira, J.R.C. and Tarnev, T. and Benedetti, T.M. and Andronescu, C. and Chen, Y.-T. and Tilley, R.D. and Schuhmann, W. and Gooding, J.J.

Volume: 12 Pages: 4028-4033
DOI: 10.1039/d0sc05990k
Published: 2021

Cu-based catalysts have shown structural instability during the electrochemical CO2reduction reaction (CO2RR). However, studies on monometallic Cu catalysts do not allow a nuanced differentiation between the contribution of the applied potential and the local concentration of CO as the reaction intermediate since both are inevitably linked. We first use bimetallic Ag-core/porous Cu-shell nanoparticles, which utilise nanoconfinement to generate high local CO concentrations at the Ag core at potentials at which the Cu shell is still inactive for the CO2RR. Usingoperandoliquid cell TEM in combination withex situTEM, we can unequivocally confirm that the local CO concentration is the main source for the Cu instability. The local CO concentration is then modulated by replacing the Ag-core with a Pd-core which further confirms the role of high local CO concentrations. Product quantification during CO2RR reveals an inherent trade-off between stability, selectivity and activity in both systems. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2021.

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