*Nat Commun ; 11(1): 33, 2020 Jan 07.*

##### RESUMO

Electrochemical CO[Formula: see text] reduction is a potential route to the sustainable production of valuable fuels and chemicals. Here, we perform CO[Formula: see text] reduction experiments on Gold at neutral to acidic pH values to elucidate the long-standing controversy surrounding the rate-limiting step. We find the CO production rate to be invariant with pH on a Standard Hydrogen Electrode scale and conclude that it is limited by the CO[Formula: see text] adsorption step. We present a new multi-scale modeling scheme that integrates ab initio reaction kinetics with mass transport simulations, explicitly considering the charged electric double layer. The model reproduces the experimental CO polarization curve and reveals the rate-limiting step to be *COOH to *CO at low overpotentials, CO[Formula: see text] adsorption at intermediate ones, and CO[Formula: see text] mass transport at high overpotentials. Finally, we show the Tafel slope to arise from the electrostatic interaction between the dipole of *CO[Formula: see text] and the interfacial field. This work highlights the importance of surface charging for electrochemical kinetics and mass transport.

*J Chem Theory Comput ; 15(12): 6895-6906, 2019 Dec 10.*

##### RESUMO

One of the major open challenges in ab initio simulations of the electrochemical interface is the determination of electrochemical barriers under a constant driving force. Existing methods to do so include extrapolation techniques based on fully explicit treatments of the electrolyte, as well as implicit solvent models which allow for a continuous variation in electrolyte charge. Emerging hybrid continuum models have the potential to revolutionize the field, since they account for the electrolyte with little computational cost while retaining some explicit electrolyte, representing a "best of both worlds" method. In this work, we present a unified approach to determine reaction energetics from fully explicit, implicit, and hybrid treatments of the electrolyte based on a new multicapacitor model of the electrochemical interface. A given electrode potential can be achieved by a variety of interfacial structures; a crucial insight from this work is that the effective surface charge gives a good proxy of the local potential, the true driving force of electrochemical processes. In contrast, we show that the traditionally considered work function gives rise to multivalued functions depending on the simulation cell size. Furthermore, we show that the reaction energetics are largely insensitive to the countercharge distribution chosen in hybrid implicit/explicit models, which means that any of the myriad implicit electrolyte models can be equivalently applied. This work thus paves the way for the accurate treatment of ab initio reaction energetics of general surface electrochemical processes using both implicit and explicit electrolytes.

*Nano Lett ; 19(10): 7293-7300, 2019 10 09.*

##### RESUMO

A variety of methods including tuning chemical compositions, structures, crystallinity, defects and strain, and electrochemical intercalation have been demonstrated to enhance the catalytic activity. However, none of these tuning methods provide direct dynamical control during catalytic reactions. Here we propose a new method to tune the activity of catalysts through solid-state ion gating manipulation and adjustment (SIGMA) using a catalysis transistor. SIGMA can electrostatically dope the surface of catalysts with a high electron concentration over 5 × 1013 cm-2 and thus modulate both the chemical potential of the reaction intermediates and their electrical conductivity. The hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) on both pristine and defective MoS2 were investigated as model reactions. Our theoretical and experimental results show that the overpotential at 10 mA/cm2 and Tafel slope can be in situ, continuously, dynamically, and reversibly tuned over 100 mV and around 100 mV/dec, respectively.

*Chemphyschem ; 20(22): 3074-3080, 2019 11 19.*

##### RESUMO

Modelling the electrolyte at the electrochemical interface remains a major challenge in ab initio simulations of charge transfer processes at surfaces. Recently, the development of hybrid polarizable continuum models/ab initio models have allowed for the treatment of solvation and electrolyte charge in a computationally efficient way. However, challenges remain in its application. Recent literature has reported that large cell heights are required to reach convergence, which presents a serious computational cost. Furthermore, calculations of reaction energetics require costly iterations to tune the surface charge to the desired potential. In this work, we present a simple capacitor model of the interface that illuminates how to circumvent both of these challenges. We derive a correction to the energy for finite cell heights to obtain the large cell energies at no additional computational expense. We furthermore demonstrate that the reaction energetics determined at constant charge are easily mapped to those at constant potential, which eliminates the need to apply iterative schemes to tune the system to a constant potential. These developments together represent more than an order of magnitude reduction of the computational overhead required for the application of polarizable continuum models to surface electrochemistry.

*J Chem Phys ; 150(4): 041710, 2019 Jan 28.*

##### RESUMO

In computer simulations of solvation effects on chemical reactions, continuum modeling techniques regain popularity as a way to efficiently circumvent an otherwise costly sampling of solvent degrees of freedom. As effective techniques, such implicit solvation models always depend on a number of parameters that need to be determined earlier. In the past, the focus lay mostly on an accurate parametrization of water models. Yet, non-aqueous solvents have recently attracted increasing attention, in particular, for the design of battery materials. To this end, we present a systematic parametrization protocol for the Self-Consistent Continuum Solvation (SCCS) model resulting in optimized parameters for 67 non-aqueous solvents. Our parametrization is based on a collection of ≈6000 experimentally measured partition coefficients, which we collected in the Solv@TUM database presented here. The accuracy of our optimized SCCS model is comparable to the well-known universal continuum solvation model (SMx) family of methods, while relying on only a single fit parameter and thereby largely reducing statistical noise. Furthermore, slightly modifying the non-electrostatic terms of the model, we present the SCCS-P solvation model as a more accurate alternative, in particular, for aromatic solutes. Finally, we show that SCCS parameters can, to a good degree of accuracy, also be predicted for solvents outside the database using merely the dielectric bulk permittivity of the solvent of choice.

*Nat Commun ; 10(1): 32, 2019 01 03.*

##### RESUMO

We present a microkinetic model for CO(2) reduction (CO(2)R) on Cu(211) towards C2 products, based on energetics estimated from an explicit solvent model. We show that the differences in both Tafel slopes and pH dependence for C1 vs C2 activity arise from differences in their multi-step mechanisms. We find the depletion in C2 products observed at high overpotential and high pH to arise from the 2nd order dependence of C-C coupling on CO coverage, which decreases due to competition from the C1 pathway. We further demonstrate that CO(2) reduction at a fixed pH yield similar activities, due to the facile kinetics for CO2 reduction to CO on Cu, which suggests C2 products to be favored for CO2R under alkaline conditions. The mechanistic insights of this work elucidate how reaction conditions can lead to significant enhancements in selectivity and activity towards higher value C2 products.

*J Chem Phys ; 146(13): 134103, 2017 Apr 07.*

##### RESUMO

Implicit solvation calculations based on a Stern-layer corrected size-modified Poisson-Boltzmann (SMPB) model are an effective approach to capture electrolytic effects in first-principles electronic structure calculations. For a given salt solution, they require a range of ion-specific parameters, which describe the size of the dissolved ions as well as thickness and shape of the Stern layer. Out of this defined parameter space, we show that the Stern layer thickness expressed in terms of the solute's electron density and the resulting ionic cavity volume completely determine ion effects on the stability of neutral solutes. Using the efficient SMPB functionality of the full-potential density-functional theory package FHI-aims, we derive optimized such Stern layer parameters for neutral solutes in various aqueous monovalent electrolytes. The parametrization protocol relies on fitting to reference Setschenow coefficients that describe solvation free energy changes with ionic strength at low to medium concentrations. The availability of such data for NaCl solutions yields a highly predictive SMPB model that allows to recover the measured Setschenow coefficients with an accuracy that is comparable to prevalent quantitative regression models. Correspondingly derived SMPB parameters for other salts suffer from a much scarcer experimental data base but lead to Stern layer properties that follow a physically reasonable trend with ionic hydration numbers.

*J Chem Theory Comput ; 12(8): 4052-66, 2016 Aug 09.*

##### RESUMO

The size-modified Poisson-Boltzmann (MPB) equation is an efficient implicit solvation model which also captures electrolytic solvent effects. It combines an account of the dielectric solvent response with a mean-field description of solvated finite-sized ions. We present a general solution scheme for the MPB equation based on a fast function-space-oriented Newton method and a Green's function preconditioned iterative linear solver. In contrast to popular multigrid solvers, this approach allows us to fully exploit specialized integration grids and optimized integration schemes. We describe a corresponding numerically efficient implementation for the full-potential density-functional theory (DFT) code FHI-aims. We show that together with an additional Stern layer correction the DFT+MPB approach can describe the mean activity coefficient of a KCl aqueous solution over a wide range of concentrations. The high sensitivity of the calculated activity coefficient on the employed ionic parameters thereby suggests to use extensively tabulated experimental activity coefficients of salt solutions for a systematic parametrization protocol.