Correlating hydration free energy and specific adsorption of alkali metal cations during CO2 electroreduction on Au

Vincent J. Ovalle, Yu Shen Hsu, Naveen Agrawal, Michael J. Janik, Matthias M. Waegele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

Specifically adsorbed alkali metal cations on metal electrodes have been hypothesized to influence the reduction of CO2. However, experimental detection of these cations during CO2 reduction remains elusive. Herein, employing the asymmetric CH3 deformation band of tetramethylammonium as a vibrational probe of the aqueous electrolyte–polycrystalline Au interface, we monitored the displacement of specifically adsorbed tetramethylammonium by alkali metal cations. We found that the coverage of specifically adsorbed alkali metal cations during CO2-to-CO reduction follows the order Li+ < Na+ < K+ < Cs+ for the same bulk concentration. The alkali metal cations’ experimentally observed surface coverages correlate with their free energies of hydration. Furthermore, the rate of CO2-to-CO conversion increases with the coverage of specifically adsorbed alkali metal cations. Our observations suggest that the degree to which alkali metal cations undergo partial dehydration at the electrode–electrolyte interface plays a key role in their ability to promote CO2-to-CO reduction. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)624-632
Number of pages9
JournalNature Catalysis
Volume5
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

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