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Published October 2020 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Highly active and stable stepped Cu surface for enhanced electrochemical CO₂ reduction to C₂H₄


Electrochemical CO₂ reduction to value-added chemical feedstocks is of considerable interest for renewable energy storage and renewable source generation while mitigating CO₂ emissions from human activity. Copper represents an effective catalyst in reducing CO₂ to hydrocarbons or oxygenates, but it is often plagued by a low product selectivity and limited long-term stability. Here we report that copper nanowires with rich surface steps exhibit a remarkably high Faradaic efficiency for C₂H₄ that can be maintained for over 200 hours. Computational studies reveal that these steps are thermodynamically favoured compared with Cu(100) surface under the operating conditions and the stepped surface favours C₂ products by suppressing the C₁ pathway and hydrogen production.

Additional Information

© 2020 Nature Publishing Group. Received 08 July 2019; Accepted 30 July 2020; Published 07 September 2020. The TEM work was conducted using the facilities in the Electron Imaging Center at the California NanoSystems Institute at the University of California Los Angles and the Irvine Materials Research Institute at the University of California Irvine. C.C., J.C., X.D. and Y.H. acknowledge support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) under grant no. N000141712608. S.K., T.C. and W.A.G. were supported by the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, supported through the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy under Award no. DE-SC0004993. C.L., S.K. and H.M.L. used the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), which is supported by National Science Foundation grant no. ACI-1548562. C.L. and H.M.L. were also supported by a National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea grant funded by the Korean Government (no. NRF-2017R1E1A1A03071049). The work done at the University of California Irvine was supported by the Irvine Materials Research Institute and ExxonMobil. Data availability: The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding authors upon reasonable request. Author Contributions: C.C. designed and conducted most of the experiments, analysed all the data and prepared the manuscript. S.K., T.C. and W.A.G. performed the density theoretical calculations and prepared the manuscript. M.X., P.T. and X.P. took SEI and bright-field scanning transmission electron microscopy images. J.C., C.L., H.M.L and X.D. assisted in the experiments and the preparation of the manuscript. Y.H. initiated the study, oversaw the project and wrote the manuscript. All the authors discussed the results and contributed to the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests.

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September 22, 2023
October 23, 2023