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Langmuir ; 33(37): 9464-9471, 2017 09 19.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28691827


We have studied the influence of low concentrations (0.1 M) of the ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([EMIM]Cl) on suppressing the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) using polycrystalline Ag, Cu, and Fe electrodes in aqueous acidic and basic media. HER suppression is generally desired when aiming to catalyze other reactions of interests, e.g., CO2 electro-reduction. Cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry measurements were performed at potentials between -0.2 and -0.8 V versus the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE) to investigate HER activity in a simulated CO2 electrolysis environment without the CO2. In an acidic electrolyte, a decrease in HER activity was observed for all three electrodes with the largest effect being that of Fe, where the HER activity was suppressed by 75% at -0.5 V versus RHE. In contrast to the effect of [EMIM]Cl in an acidic electrolyte, no HER suppression was observed in basic media. Using 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy on the electrolyte before and after electrolysis, it was determined that [EMIM]Cl breaks down at both the working and counter electrodes under reaction conditions under both acidic and basic conditions. These results underscore the challenges in employing ionic liquids for electrochemical reactions such as CO2 reduction.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 114(23): 5918-5923, 2017 06 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28533377


In this study we control the surface structure of Cu thin-film catalysts to probe the relationship between active sites and catalytic activity for the electroreduction of CO2 to fuels and chemicals. Here, we report physical vapor deposition of Cu thin films on large-format (∼6 cm2) single-crystal substrates, and confirm epitaxial growth in the <100>, <111>, and <751> orientations using X-ray pole figures. To understand the relationship between the bulk and surface structures, in situ electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy was conducted on Cu(100), (111), and (751) thin films. The studies revealed that Cu(100) and (111) have surface adlattices that are identical to the bulk structure, and that Cu(751) has a heterogeneous kinked surface with (110) terraces that is closely related to the bulk structure. Electrochemical CO2 reduction testing showed that whereas both Cu(100) and (751) thin films are more active and selective for C-C coupling than Cu(111), Cu(751) is the most selective for >2e- oxygenate formation at low overpotentials. Our results demonstrate that epitaxy can be used to grow single-crystal analogous materials as large-format electrodes that provide insights on controlling electrocatalytic activity and selectivity for this reaction.