Graphene-Supported Monometallic and Bimetallic Dimers for Electrochemical CO2 Reduction

Bimetallic catalysts are attractive alternatives to extend the parameter space that can be tuned for support interactions and catalytic performance. In this study, we have investigated the smallest bimetallic catalystsdimerssupported on defective graphene for the electrochemical reduction of CO2 to CH4 based on a first-principles approach and the computational hydrogen electrode model. The monometallic and bimetallic dimers formed from Group 10 (Ni, Pd, Pt) and group 11 (Cu, Ag, Au) elements are characterized by a positively charged anchoring atom occupying the vacancy site of graphene and a neutral or slightly negatively charged antenna atom sticking out from the graphene surface. The strong selective binding of these dimers ensures their high stability. Possible rate-limiting steps are identified from the full reaction pathways to generate CH4. Overall, Pt2, AgNi, Pd2, and AgPt are the best candidates with the lowest overpotential values of 0.37, 0.69, 0.69, and 0.76 V, respectively. It is found that the alloy effect and the interaction with support help to optimize the property. These metallic dimers, however, retain nonmonotonous property relationships that give opportunity to go beyond scaling behavior and look for a few atom catalysts that have unique properties to reduce rate-limiting potentials and improve the catalytic performance.