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J Am Chem Soc ; 2020 Dec 31.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33382947


The electrochemical CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) using Cu-based catalysts holds great potential for producing valuable multi-carbon products from renewable energy. However, the chemical and structural state of Cu catalyst surfaces during the CO2RR remains a matter of debate. Here, we show the structural evolution of the near-surface region of polycrystalline Cu electrodes under in situ conditions through a combination of grazing incidence X-ray absorption spectroscopy (GIXAS) and X-ray diffraction (GIXRD). The in situ GIXAS reveals that the surface oxide layer is fully reduced to metallic Cu before the onset potential for CO2RR, and the catalyst maintains the metallic state across the potentials relevant to the CO2RR. We also find a preferential surface reconstruction of the polycrystalline Cu surface toward (100) facets in the presence of CO2. Quantitative analysis of the reconstruction profiles reveals that the degree of reconstruction increases with increasingly negative applied potentials, and it persists when the applied potential returns to more positive values. These findings show that the surface of Cu electrocatalysts is dynamic during the CO2RR, and emphasize the importance of in situ characterization to understand the surface structure and its role in electrocatalysis.

Phys Chem Chem Phys ; 21(10): 5402-5408, 2019 Mar 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30785434


The rational improvement of current and developing electrochemical technologies requires atomistic understanding of electrode-electrolyte interfaces. However, examining these interfaces under operando conditions, where performance is typically evaluated and benchmarked, remains challenging, as it necessitates incorporating an operando probe during full electrochemical operation. In this study, we describe a custom electrochemical flow cell that enables near-surface-sensitive operando investigation of planar thin-film catalysts at significant hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) rates (in excess of -100 mA cm-2) using grazing incidence X-ray methods. Grazing-incidence X-ray spectroscopy and diffraction were implemented on the same sample under identical HER conditions, demonstrating how the combined measurements track changing redox chemistry and structure of Cu thin-film catalyst surfaces as a function of electrochemical conditions. The coupling of these methods with improved mass transport and hydrodynamic control establishes a new paradigm for operando measurement design, enabling unique insights into the key fundamental processes occurring at the catalyst-electrolyte interface.

Nat Commun ; 9(1): 921, 2018 03 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29500344


Battery function is determined by the efficiency and reversibility of the electrochemical phase transformations at solid electrodes. The microscopic tools available to study the chemical states of matter with the required spatial resolution and chemical specificity are intrinsically limited when studying complex architectures by their reliance on two-dimensional projections of thick material. Here, we report the development of soft X-ray ptychographic tomography, which resolves chemical states in three dimensions at 11 nm spatial resolution. We study an ensemble of nano-plates of lithium iron phosphate extracted from a battery electrode at 50% state of charge. Using a set of nanoscale tomograms, we quantify the electrochemical state and resolve phase boundaries throughout the volume of individual nanoparticles. These observations reveal multiple reaction points, intra-particle heterogeneity, and size effects that highlight the importance of multi-dimensional analytical tools in providing novel insight to the design of the next generation of high-performance devices.

Sci Rep ; 7: 42527, 2017 02 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28186175


We report the study of Mg cathodic electrochemical deposition on Ti and Au electrode using a multimodal approach by examining the sample area in-situ using liquid cell transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM) and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). Magnesium Aluminum Chloride Complex was synthesized and utilized as electrolyte, where non-reversible features during in situ charging-discharging cycles were observed. During charging, a uniform Mg film was deposited on the electrode, which is consistent with the intrinsic non-dendritic nature of Mg deposition in Mg ion batteries. The Mg thin film was not dissolvable during the following discharge process. We found that such Mg thin film is hexacoordinated Mg compounds by in-situ STXM and XAS. This study provides insights on the non-reversibility issue and failure mechanism of Mg ion batteries. Also, our method provides a novel generic method to understand the in situ battery chemistry without any further sample processing, which can preserve the original nature of battery materials or electrodeposited materials. This multimodal in situ imaging and spectroscopy provides many opportunities to attack complex problems that span orders of magnitude in length and time scale, which can be applied to a broad range of the energy storage systems.

ACS Catal ; 6(4): 2178-2181, 2016 Apr 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27076990


Understanding Fe deposition in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysis is critical for the mitigation of catalyst degradation. Here we employ soft X-ray ptychography to determine at the nanoscale the distribution and chemical state of Fe in an aged FCC catalyst particle. We show that both particle swelling due to colloidal Fe deposition and Fe penetration into the matrix as a result of precracking of large organic molecules occur. The application of ptychography allowed us to provide direct visual evidence for these two distinct Fe-based deactivation mechanisms, which have so far been proposed only on the basis of indirect evidence.

Nano Lett ; 15(7): 4282-8, 2015 Jul 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26061698


The performance of battery electrode materials is strongly affected by inefficiencies in utilization kinetics and cycle life as well as size effects. Observations of phase transformations in these materials with high chemical and spatial resolution can elucidate the relationship between chemical processes and mechanical degradation. Soft X-ray ptychographic microscopy combined with X-ray absorption spectroscopy and electron microscopy creates a powerful suite of tools that we use to assess the chemical and morphological changes in lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) micro- and nanocrystals that occur upon delithiation. All sizes of partly delithiated crystals were found to contain two phases with a complex correlation between crystallographic orientation and phase distribution. However, the lattice mismatch between LiFePO4 and FePO4 led to severe fracturing on microcrystals, whereas no mechanical damage was observed in nanoplates, indicating that mechanics are a principal driver in the outstanding electrode performance of LiFePO4 nanoparticles. These results demonstrate the importance of engineering the active electrode material in next generation electrical energy storage systems, which will achieve theoretical limits of energy density and extended stability. This work establishes soft X-ray ptychographic chemical imaging as an essential tool to build comprehensive relationships between mechanics and chemistry that guide this engineering design.