5 years ago

Surface Proton Transfer Promotes Four-Electron Oxygen Reduction on Gold Nanocrystal Surfaces in Alkaline Solution

Surface Proton Transfer Promotes Four-Electron Oxygen Reduction on Gold Nanocrystal Surfaces in Alkaline Solution
Fang Lu, Mingzhao Liu, Jia X. Wang, Radoslav R. Adzic, Yu Zhang, Yugang Zhang, Ping Liu, Oleg Gang, Shizhong Liu, Deyu Lu, Dong Su
Four-electron oxygen reduction reaction (4e-ORR), a key pathway in energy conversion, is preferred over the two-electron reduction pathway that falls short in dissociating dioxygen molecules. Gold surfaces exhibit high sensitivity of the ORR pathway to its atomic structures. A long-standing puzzle remains unsolved: why the Au surfaces with {100} sub-facets were exceptionally capable to catalyze the 4e-ORR in alkaline solution, though limited within a narrow potential window. Herein we report the discovery of a dominant 4e-ORR over the whole potential range on {310} surface of Au nanocrystal shaped as truncated ditetragonal prism (TDP). In contrast, ORR pathways on single-crystalline facets of shaped nanoparticles, including {111} on nano-octahedra and {100} on nanocubes, are similar to their single-crystal counterparts. Combining our experimental results with density functional theory calculations, we elucidate the key role of surface proton transfers from co-adsorbed H2O molecules in activating the facet- and potential-dependent 4e-ORR on Au in alkaline solutions. These results elucidate how surface atomic structures determine the reaction pathways via bond scission and formation among weakly adsorbed water and reaction intermediates. The new insight helps in developing facet-specific nanocatalysts for various reactions.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.7b01735

DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b01735

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