Colloidal silver diphosphide (AgP2) nanocrystals as low overpotential catalysts for CO2 reduction to tunable syngas

Nat Commun. 2019 Dec 16;10(1):5724. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13388-8.


Production of syngas with tunable CO/H2 ratio from renewable resources is an ideal way to provide a carbon-neutral feedstock for liquid fuel production. Ag is a benchmark electrocatalysts for CO2-to-CO conversion but high overpotential limits the efficiency. We synthesize AgP2 nanocrystals (NCs) with a greater than 3-fold reduction in overpotential for electrochemical CO2-to-CO reduction compared to Ag and greatly enhanced stability. Density functional theory calculations reveal a significant energy barrier decrease in the formate intermediate formation step. In situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) shows that a maximum Faradaic efficiency is achieved at an average silver valence state of +1.08 in AgP2 NCs. A photocathode consisting of a n+p-Si wafer coated with ultrathin Al2O3 and AgP2 NCs achieves an onset potential of 0.2 V vs. RHE for CO production and a partial photocurrent density for CO at -0.11 V vs. RHE (j-0.11, CO) of -3.2 mA cm-2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Retracted Publication