Electrochemically Driven C-N Bond Formation from CO2 and Ammonia at the Triple-Phase Boundary

26 November 2021, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Electrosynthetic techniques are gaining prominence across the fields of chemistry, engineering and energy science. However, most works within the direction of synthetic heterogeneous electrocatalysis focus on water electrolysis and CO2 reduction. In this work, we moved to expand the scope of this technology by developing a synthetic scheme which couples CO2 and NH3 at a gas-liquid-solid triple-phase boundary to produce species with C-N bonds. Specifically, by bringing in CO2 from the gas phase and NH3 from the liquid phase together over solid copper catalysts, we have succeeded in forming formamide and acetamide products for the first time. In a subsequent complementary step, we have combined electrochemical analysis and a newly developed operando spectroelectrochemical method, capable of probing the aforementioned triple phase boundary, to extract an initial level of mechanistic analysis regarding the reaction pathways of these reactions and the current system’s limitations. We believe that the development and understanding of this set of reaction pathways will play an exceptionally significant role in expanding the community’s understanding of on-surface electrosynthetic reactions as well as push this set of inherently sustainable technologies towards widespread applicability.


Operando Spectroscopy
CO2 reduction
Reaction Engineerig


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