Synthesis of thin film AuPd alloys and their investigation for electrocatalytic CO2 reduction

Christopher Hahn, David N. Abram, Heine A. Hansen, Toru Hatsukade, Ariel Jackson, Natalie C. Johnson, Thomas R. Hellstern, Kendra P. Kuhl, Etosha R. Cave, Jeremy T. Feaster, Thomas F. Jaramillo
Year of publication: 
Journal of Materials Chemistry

We synthesize and investigate AuPd alloys for the electrocatalytic reduction of CO2. Thin films of AuPd were synthesized using an electron-beam co-deposition method, which yields uniform, phase-pure metal alloys with composition control. Scanning electron microscope images show that the thin films are relatively uniform and flat in morphology. X-ray diffraction showed alloying and phase homogeneity within the AuPd thin films. Elemental mapping of Au and Pd with scanning transmission electron microscopy shows that AuPd thin films are uniform in composition on the nanometer scale. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy characterization indicates that AuPd alloys are slightly Au-rich on the surface and follow a similar trend to the bulk composition as determined by Vegard's Law. CO2 reduction activity and selectivity were investigated across the AuPd system. All AuPd alloys were found to be more active and selective for formate production than either of the pure metals, indicating that Au and Pd can act synergistically to yield new electrocatalytic properties.

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