Effects of Surface Roughness on the Electrochemical Reduction of CO2 over Cu


We have investigated the role of surface roughening on the CO reduction reaction (CO RR) over Cu. The activity and product selectivity of Cu surfaces roughened by plasma pretreatment in Ar, O , or N were compared with that of electrochemically polished Cu samples. Differences in total and product current densities, the ratio of current densities for HER (the hydrogen evolution reaction) to CO RR, and the ratio of current densities for C to C products depend on the electrochemically active surface and are nearly independent of plasma composition. Theoretical analysis of an electropolished and roughened Cu surface reveals a higher fraction of undercoordinated Cu sites on the roughened surface, sites that bind CO preferentially. Roughened surfaces also contain square sites similar to those on a Cu(100) surface but with neighboring step sites, which adsorb OC-COH, a precursor to C products. These findings explain the increases in the formation of oxygenates and hydrocarbons relative to CO and the ratio of oxygenates to hydrocarbons observed with increasing surface roughness. 2 2 2 2 2 2+ 1 2

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