Copper adparticle enabled selective electrosynthesis of n-propanol

Jun Li, Fanglin Che, Yuanjie Pang, Chengqin Zou, Jane Y. Howe, Thomas Burdyny, Jonathan P. Edwards, Yuhang Wang, Fengwang Li, Ziyun Wang, More Authors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


The electrochemical reduction of carbon monoxide is a promising approach for the renewable production of carbon-based fuels and chemicals. Copper shows activity toward multi-carbon products from CO reduction, with reaction selectivity favoring two-carbon products; however, efficient conversion of CO to higher carbon products such as n-propanol, a liquid fuel, has yet to be achieved. We hypothesize that copper adparticles, possessing a high density of under-coordinated atoms, could serve as preferential sites for n-propanol formation. Density functional theory calculations suggest that copper adparticles increase CO binding energy and stabilize two-carbon intermediates, facilitating coupling between adsorbed *CO and two-carbon intermediates to form three-carbon products. We form adparticle-covered catalysts in-situ by mediating catalyst growth with strong CO chemisorption. The new catalysts exhibit an n-propanol Faradaic efficiency of 23% from CO reduction at an n-propanol partial current density of 11 mA cm−2.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4614
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Correction:The original version of this Article incorrectly omitted the received/accepted dates of Received: 05 June 2018; Accepted: 10 October2018. This has now been corrected in the PDF and HTML versions of the Article with


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