Production of ammonia is currently realized by the Haber–Bosch process, while electrochemical N2 fixation under ambient conditions is recognized as a promising green substitution in the near future. A lack of efficient electrocatalysts remains the primary hurdle for the initiation of potential electrocatalytic synthesis of ammonia. For cheaper metals, such as copper, limited progress has been made to date. In this work, we boost the N2 reduction reaction catalytic activity of Cu nanoparticles, which originally exhibited negligible N2 reduction reaction activity, via a local electron depletion effect. The electron-deficient Cu nanoparticles are brought in a Schottky rectifying contact with a polyimide support which retards the hydrogen evolution reaction process in basic electrolytes and facilitates the electrochemical N2 reduction reaction process under ambient aqueous conditions. This strategy of inducing electron deficiency provides new insight into the rational design of inexpensive N2 reduction reaction catalysts with high selectivity and activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)