Synergistic Chemisorbing and Electronic Effects for Efficient CO2 Reduction Using Cysteamine-Functionalized Gold Nanoparticles

Inspired by the architectural feature of the natural enzyme of carbon monoxide dehydrogenase, cysteamine-capped Au nanoparticles (CA–Au NPs) are investigated with remarkable mass activity for CO2 reduction. CA–Au NPs exhibit exclusive CO selectivity, low onset overpotential, and a 110-fold enhancement in mass activity compared with ligand-free Au NPs. Electronic structure and in situ spectroscopy analyses indicate that increased activity is due to the electronic effect derived from thiolate anchoring on the surface and chemisorbing CO2 and intermediates by terminal -NH2 functional groups. Our study provides the basis for fabricating effective catalysts for CO2 reduction.