How cations determine the interfacial potential profile: Relevance for the CO2 reduction reaction

Ghulam Hussain, Laura Pérez-Martinez, Jia-Bo Le, Marco Papasizza, Gema Cabello, Jung Cheng, Angel Cuesta* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The strong effect of the electrolyte cation on the activity and selectivity of the CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) can only be understood and controlled if the cation's effect on the interfacial potential distribution is known. Using CO (the key intermediate in the CO2RR) adsorbed on Pt as a probe molecule, and combining IR spectroscopy, capacitance measurements and ab initio molecular dynamics, we show that the cation size determines the location of the outer Helmholtz plane, whereby smaller cations increase not just the polarisation but, most importantly, the polarizability of adsorbed CO (COad) and the accumulation of electronic density on the oxygen atom of COad. This strongly affects its adsorption energy, the degree of hydrogen bonding of interfacial water to COad and the degree of polarisation of water molecules in the cation's solvation shell, all of which can deeply affect the subsequent steps of the CO2RR.
Original languageEnglish
Article number135055
Number of pages8
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Volume327
Early online date11 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • double-layer structure
  • cation effects
  • CO2 reduction reaction
  • adsorbed CO
  • vibrational Stark effect
  • PRODUCT SELECTIVITY
  • STRIPPING VOLTAMMOGRAMS
  • COVERAGE
  • Cation effects
  • ELECTRODES
  • PLATINUM
  • ELECTROCHEMICAL REDUCTION
  • DEPENDENCE
  • Double-layer structure
  • CARBON-MONOXIDE
  • BINDING GEOMETRIES
  • DOUBLE-LAYER
  • Adsorbed CO
  • Vibrational Stark effect

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