Unraveling the Structural Sensitivity of CO2 Electroreduction at Facet-Defined Nanocrystals via Correlative Single-Entity and Macroelectrode Measurements. Academic Article uri icon


  • The conversion of CO2 into value-added products is a compelling way of storing energy derived from intermittent renewable sources and can bring us closer to a closed-loop anthropogenic carbon cycle. The ability to synthesize nanocrystals of well-defined structure and composition has invigorated catalysis science with the promise of nanocrystals that selectively express the most favorable sites for efficient catalysis. The performance of nanocrystal catalysts for the CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) is typically evaluated with nanocrystal ensembles, which returns an averaged system-level response of complex catalyst-modified electrodes with each nanocrystal likely contributing a different (unknown) amount. Measurements at single nanocrystals, taken in the context of statistical analysis of a population, and comparison to macroscale measurements are necessary to untangle the complexity of the ever-present heterogeneity in nanocrystal catalysts, achieve true structure-property correlation, and potentially identify nanocrystals with outlier performance. Here, we employ environment-controlled scanning electrochemical cell microscopy to isolate and investigate the electrocatalytic CO2RR response of individual facet-defined gold nanocrystals. Using correlative microscopy approaches, we conclusively demonstrate that {110}-terminated gold rhombohedra possess superior activity and selectivity for CO2RR compared with {111}-terminated octahedra and high-index {310}-terminated truncated ditetragonal prisms, especially at low overpotentials where electrode kinetics is anticipated to dominate the current response. The methodology framework described here could inform future studies of complex electrocatalytic processes through correlative single-entity and macroscale measurement techniques.

published proceedings

  • J Am Chem Soc

altmetric score

  • 11.45

author list (cited authors)

  • Jeong, S., Choi, M., Jagdale, G. S., Zhong, Y., Siepser, N. P., Wang, Y. i., ... Ye, X.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Jeong, Soojin||Choi, Myung-Hoon||Jagdale, Gargi S||Zhong, Yaxu||Siepser, Natasha P||Wang, Yi||Zhan, Xun||Baker, Lane A||Ye, Xingchen

publication date

  • July 2022