October 19, 2022
Journal Article

Bridge Sites of Au Surfaces Are Active for Electrocatalytic CO2 Reduction


Prior in-situ attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) studies of electrochemical CO2 reduction catalyzed by Au, one of the most selective and active electrocatalysts to produce CO from CO2, suggest that the reaction proceeds solely on the top sites of the Au surface. This finding is worth updating with an improved spectroelectrochemical system where in-situ IR measurements can be performed under real reaction conditions that yield high CO selectivity. Herein, we report the preparation of a Au-coated Si ATR crystal electrode with both high catalytic activity for CO2 reduction and strong surface enhancement of IR signals validated in the same spectroelectrochemical cell, which allows us to probe the adsorption and desorption behavior of bridge-bonded *CO species (*COB). We find that the Au surface restructures irreversibly to give an increased number of bridge sites for CO adsorption within the initial tens of seconds of CO2 reduction. By studying the potential-dependent desorption kinetics of *COB and quantifying the steady-state surface concentration of *COB under reaction conditions, we further show that *COB are active reaction intermediates for CO2 reduction to CO on the Au surface. At medium overpotential, as high as 38% of the reaction occurs on the bridge sites.

Published: October 19, 2022


Tao Z., A. Pearce, J.M. Mayer, and H. Wang. 2022. Bridge Sites of Au Surfaces Are Active for Electrocatalytic CO2 Reduction. Journal of the American Chemical Society 144, no. 19:8641-8648. PNNL-SA-172243. doi:10.1021/jacs.2c01098

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