Atomic nickel cluster decorated defect-rich copper for enhanced C2 product selectivity in electrocatalytic CO2 reduction

Xiaolong Zhang, Chuangwei Liu, Yong Zhao, Linbo Li, Yu Chen, Fazal Raziq, Liang Qiao, Si Xuan Guo, Caiyun Wang, Gordon G. Wallace, Alan M. Bond, Jie Zhang

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This work describes a coordination enabled galvanic replacement method to decorate atomic Ni clusters on defect-rich Cu surface to provide the first Ni/Cu bimetallic system that significantly enhances the production of C2 products from electrocatalytic CO2 reduction. Specifically, with a surface Ni/Cu ratio of 0.82 %, a 7-fold increase in the selectivity for C2 products was found in comparison with pristine Cu. Density functional theory calculations reveal that the rate determining step for *CO formation changes from the formation of *COOH on copper to the chemisorption of CO2 on Ni decorated surfaces. An alteration of binding sites from Ni-Ni bridge for *CO2 and *COOH to Ni-Cu bridge for *CO is discovered and is proposed to favor the key C–C coupling step. The catalytic mechanism demonstrated in the Cu-Ni system points to the new directions for the development of advanced bimetallic electrocatalysts for producing multi-carbon materials from CO2 reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120030
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2021


  • Bimetallic catalyst
  • Carbon dioxide reduction
  • Electrocatalysis
  • Surface decoration

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