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Fast Operando Spectroscopy Tracking in Situ Generation of Rich Defects in Silver Nanocrystals for Highly Selective Electrochemical CO2 Reduction
X. Wu, Y. Guo, Z. Sun, F. Xie, D. Guan, J. Dai, F. Yu, Z. Hu, Y.-C. Huang, C.-W. Pao, J.-L. Chen, W. Zhou*, and Z. Shao*
Electrochemical CO2 reduction (ECR) is highly attractive to curb global warming. The knowledge on the evolution of catalysts and identification of active sites during the reaction is important, but still limited. Here, we report an efficient catalyst (Ag-D) with suitable defect concentration operando formed during ECR within several minutes. Utilizing the powerful fast operando X-ray absorption spectroscopy, the evolving electronic and crystal structures are unraveled under ECR condition. The catalyst exhibits a ~100% faradaic efficiency and negligible performance degradation over a 120-hour test at a moderate overpotential of 0.7 V in an H-cell reactor and a current density of ~180 mA cm−2 at −1.0 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode in a flow-cell reactor. Density functional theory calculations indicate that the adsorption of intermediate COOH could be enhanced and the free energy of the reaction pathways could be optimized by an appropriate defect concentration, rationalizing the experimental observation.