Exploring Bi2Te3 Nanoplates as Versatile Catalysts for Electrochemical Reduction of Small Molecules
Nan Zhang1,2 ,Fangfang Zheng3 ,Bolong Huang4, Yujin Ji3, Qi Shao1, Youyong Li3,Xiangheng Xiao2, and Xiaoqing Huang1*（黄小青）
1College of Chemistry Chemical Engineering and Materials Science,Soochow University,Suzhou 215123, China
2School of Physics and Technology,Wuhan University,Hubei 430072, China
3Institute of Functional Nano & Soft Materials (FUNSOM),Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Carbon-Based Functional Materials & Devices,Soochow University,Suzhou, Jiangsu 215123, China
4Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology,The Hong Kong Polytechnic University,Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China
N.Z., F.Z., and B.H. contributed equally to this work.
Adv. Mater. 2020, 1906477
The electroreduction of small molecules to high value-added chemicals is considered as a promising way toward the capture and utilization of atmospheric small molecules. Discovering cheap and efficient electrocatalysts with simultaneously high activity, selectivity, durability, and even universality is desirable yet challenging. Herein, it is demonstrated that Bi2 Te3 nanoplates (NPs), cheap and noble-metal-free electrocatalysts, can be adopted as highly universal and robust electrocatalysts, which can efficiently reduce small molecules (O2 , CO2 , and N2 ) into targeted products simultaneously. They can achieve excellent activity, selectivity and durability for the oxygen reduction reaction with almost 100% H2 O2 selectivity, the CO2 reduction reaction with up to 90% Faradaic efficiency (FE) of HCOOH, and the nitrogen reduction reaction with 7.9% FE of NH3 . After electrochemical activation, an obvious Te dissolution happens on the Bi2 Te3 NPs, creating lots of Te vacancies in the activated Bi2 Te3 NPs. Theoretical calculations reveal that the Te vacancies can modulate the electronic structures of Bi and Te. Such a highly electroactive surface with a strong preference in supplying electrons for the universal reduction reactions improves the electrocatalytic performance of Bi2 Te3 . The work demonstrates a new class of cheap and versatile catalysts for the electrochemical reduction of small molecules with potential practical applications.