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Quantitatively Unraveling the Redox Shuttle of Spontaneous Oxidation/Electroreduction of CuOx on Silver Nanowires Using in Situ X‑ray Absorption Spectroscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 11.12.2019 by Chia-Jui Chang, Sung-Fu Hung, Chia-Shuo Hsu, Hsiao-Chien Chen, Sheng-Chih Lin, Yen-Fa Liao, Hao Ming Chen
Oxide-derived copper catalysts have been shown to enhance CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) activity with high selectivity toward hydrocarbon products. However, the chemical state of oxide-derived copper during the CO2RR has remained elusive and is lacking in situ observations. Herein, a two-step process was developed to synthesize Ag nanowires coated with various thicknesses of a CuOx layer for the CO2RR. By employing in situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy, a strong correlation between the chemical state under reaction conditions and the CO2RR product profile can be revealed to validate another competing reaction (i.e., the spontaneous oxidation of Cu(0) in aqueous electrolyte) that significantly governs the chemical state of active centers of Cu. In situ Raman spectroscopy reveals the existence of reoxidation behavior under cathodic potential, and the quantification analysis of reoxidized behavior is revealed to indicate that the reoxidation rate is independent of surface morphology and strongly proportional to the electrochemically surface area. The steady oxidation state of Cu in an in situ condition is the paramount key and dominates the products’ profile of the CO2RR rather than other factors (e.g., crystal facets, atomic arrangements, morphology, elements) that have been investigated in numerous reports.