(343h) Surface Structure Engineering of Cu Thin Films for Electrochemical CO2 Reduction

Authors: 
Hahn, C., Stanford University
Hatsukade, T., Stanford University
Higgins, D., Stanford University
Nitopi, S., Stanford University
Feaster, J. T., Stanford University
Jongerius, A. L., Stanford University
Jaramillo, T. F., Stanford University
Global dependence on fossil fuels as energy sources and the alarming increase of greenhouse gas emissions has necessitated the development of carbon-free and carbon-neutral renewable energy sources for the future. The sequestration of CO2 emissions along with subsequent electrochemical reduction into fuel products, forms a carbon-neutral synthetic fuel cycle which could potentially be streamlined into existing fuel infrastructures. To date, only Cu has displayed any propensity as a catalyst to electrochemically reduce CO2 into longer chain hydrocarbons. Previous studies on Cu singles crystals have shown large facet sensitivities for electrochemical CO2 reduction product selectivity. The aim of our research is to utilize these surface structure motifs to design active and selective catalysts that are amenable to device integration.

To this end, we use physical vapor deposition to synthesize Cu thin films in both low and high Miller index orientations for electrochemical CO2 reduction. X-ray pole figures demonstrate that Cu thin films can be epitaxially grown in the <100>, <111>, and <751> orientations by utilizing the orientation of the single crystal substrate. The different Cu thin film orientations were subsequently tested for their CO2 reduction activity and selectivity using electrochemical measurements in tandem with gas phase (gas chromatography) and liquid phase (nuclear magnetic resonance) product detection methods. Here, we will demonstrate how surface structure engineering can guide selectivity for C-C coupling and oxygenate formation during electrochemical CO2 reduction.