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JACS: Grain-Boundary-Rich Copper for ECR!

The grain boundary in copper-based electrocatalysts has been demonstrated to improve the selectivity of solar-driven electrochemical CO2 reduction towards multi-carbon products. However, the approach to form grain boundaries in copper is still limited. This paper describes a controllable grain growth of copper electrodeposition via poly (vinylpyrrolidone) used as an additive. A grain-boundary-rich metallic copper could be obtained to convert CO2 into ethylene and ethanol with a high selectivity of 70% over a wide potential range. In-situ attenuated total reflection surface-enhanced infrared absorption spectroscopy unveils that the existence of grain boundaries enhances the adsorption of the key intermediate(*CO) on the copper surface to boost the further CO2 reduction. When coupling with a commercially available Si solar cell, the device achieves a remarkable solar-to-C2-products conversion efficiency of 3.88% at a large current density of 52 mA∙cm-2. This low-cost and efficient device is promising for large-scale application of solar-driven CO2 reduction.

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