Spectroscopic observation of a hydrogenated CO dimer intermediate during CO reduction on Cu(100) electrodes

Elena Pérez-Gallent, Marta C. Figueiredo, Federico Calle-Vallejo (Corresponding author), Marc T.M. Koper (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

120 Citations (Scopus)


Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide can be electrochemically reduced to useful products such as ethylene and ethanol on copper electrocatalysts. The process is yet to be optimized and the exact mechanism and the corresponding reaction intermediates are under debate or unknown. In particular, it has been hypothesized that the C−C bond formation proceeds via CO dimerization and further hydrogenation. Although computational support for this hypothesis exists, direct experimental evidence has been elusive. In this work, we detect a hydrogenated dimer intermediate (OCCOH) using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy at low overpotentials in LiOH solutions. Density functional theory calculations support our assignment of the observed vibrational bands. The formation of this intermediate is structure sensitive, as it is observed only during CO reduction on Cu(100) and not on Cu(111), in agreement with previous experimental and computational observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3621-3624
Number of pages4
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • CO dimer
  • CO reduction
  • DFT calculations
  • electrocatalysis
  • IR spectroscopy

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