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Degeneration Behavior of Cu Nanowires under Carbon Dioxide Environment: An In Situ/Operando Study

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posted on 2022-02-21, 13:36 authored by Kun He, Kyoungdoc Kim, Cesar Jared Villa, Stephanie M. Ribet, Paul Smeets, Roberto dos Reis, Peter W. Voorhees, Xiaobing Hu, Vinayak P. Dravid
Copper (Cu) is a catalyst broadly used in industry for hydrogenation of carbon dioxide, which has broad implications for environmental sustainability. An accurate understanding of the degeneration behavior of Cu catalysts under operando conditions is critical for uncovering the failure mechanism of catalysts and designing novel ones with optimized performance. Despite the widespread use of these materials, their failure mechanisms are not well understood because conventional characterization techniques lack the necessary time and spatial resolution to capture these complex behaviors. In order to overcome these challenges, we carried out transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with a specialized in situ gas environmental holder, which allows us to unravel the dynamic behavior of the Cu nanowires (NWs) in operando. The failure process of these nanoscale Cu catalysts under CO2 atmosphere were tracked and further rationalized based on our numerical modeling using phase-field methods.