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Undercoordinated Active Sites on 4H Gold Nanostructures for CO2 Reduction

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journal contribution
posted on 26.10.2020, 16:15 by Yuxuan Wang, Chenyang Li, Zhanxi Fan, Ye Chen, Xing Li, Liang Cao, Canhui Wang, Lei Wang, Dong Su, Hua Zhang, Tim Mueller, Chao Wang
Electroreduction of CO2 is a promising approach toward artificial carbon recycling. The rate and product selectivity of this reaction are highly sensitive to the surface structures of electrocatalysts. We report here 4H Au nanostructures as advanced electrocatalysts for highly active and selective reduction of CO2 to CO. Au nanoribbons in the pure 4H phase, Au nanorods in the hybrid 4H/fcc phase, and those in the fcc phase are comparatively studied for the electroreduction of CO2. Both the activity and selectivity for CO production were found to exhibit the trend 4H-nanoribbons > 4H/fcc-nanorods > fcc-nanorods, with the 4H-nanoribbons achieving >90% Faradaic efficiency toward CO. Electrochemical probing and cluster expansion simulations are combined to elucidate the surface structures of these nanocrystals. The combination of crystal phase and shape control gives rise to the preferential exposure of undercoordinated sites. Further density functional theory calculations confirm the high reactivity of such undercoordinated sites.