Nanoscale Infrared Spectroscopy and Imaging of Catalytic Reactions in Cu2O Crystals

G. X. Ni, S. Chen, S. S. Sunku, A. Sternbach, A. S. McLeod, L. Xiong, M. M. Fogler, G. Chen, D. N. Basov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Many of the existing electrochemical catalysts suffer from poor selectivity, instability, and low exchange current densities. These shortcomings call for a comprehensive exploration of the catalytic processes at the fundamental nanometer length scale levels. Here we exploit infrared (IR) nanoimaging and nanospectroscopy to directly visualize catalytic reactions on the surface of Cu2O polyhedral single crystals with nanoscale spatial resolution. Nano-IR data revealed signatures of this common catalyst after electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxides (CO2). We discuss the utility of nano-IR methods for surface/facet engineering of efficient electrochemical catalysts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-580
Number of pages5
JournalACS Photonics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 18 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The development of novel nanoimaging capabilities is supported as part of Programmable Quantum Materials, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences (BES), under award DE-SC0019443. The initial phase of the experimental work was supported by the Honda Research Institute USA, Inc. The authors acknowledge help from Daniel Esposito and Anna Elisabeth Dorfi.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Chemical Society.


  • CO reduction
  • CuO catalysis
  • infrared nanospectroscopy
  • s-SNOM
  • scanning nano-optical imaging


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