Two-dimensional (2D) materials are known to be useful in catalysis. Engineering 3D bulk materials into the 2D form can enhance the exposure of the active edge sites, which are believed to be the origin of the high catalytic activity. Reported herein is the production of 2D “few-layer” antimony (Sb) nanosheets by cathodic exfoliation. Application of this 2D engineering method turns Sb, an inactive material for CO2 reduction in its bulk form, into an active 2D electrocatalyst for reduction of CO2 to formate with high efficiency. The high activity is attributed to the exposure of a large number of catalytically active edge sites. Moreover, this cathodic exfoliation process can be coupled with the anodic exfoliation of graphite in a single-compartment cell for in situ production of a few-layer Sb nanosheets and graphene composite. The observed increased activity of this composite is attributed to the strong electronic interaction between graphene and Sb.
- materials science
- surface chemistry