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Photoelectrocatalytic CO2 conversion in ionic liquid/aqueous mixture solution studied by scanning electrochemical microscopy

Abstract : This thesis studies photoelectrochemical CO2 reduction reaction (PEC CO2RR) on p-type semiconductor CuCo2O4 addressing the cocatalytic role of imidazolium based RTILs by scanning photoelectrochemical microscopy (SPECM). CuCo2O4 was studied in different solvent supporting electrolyte systems including: aqueous solution (0.1 M KHCO3 and 0.1 M Na2SO4), binary mixture solution (25 vol.% [C2mim][BF4]/H2O and 25 vol.% [C4mim][BF4]/H2O) and pure RTILs ([C2mim][BF4], [C4mim][BF4]) to explore by SPECM the role of RTILs in CuCo2O4 semiconductor PEC performance. Significantly enhanced photoreduction current under both UV-vis and visible light illumination is reported in 25 vol.% [C2mim][BF4]/H2O solution. Only CO generated from PEC CO2RR was detected using an in-situ detection method based on a home-made dual tip optical fiber-ultramicroelectrode (OF-UME) and from bulk electrolysis under illumination. The formation of CO at potentials more positive than the thermodynamic value clearly points out that direct CO2 reduction on the electrode surface is not the mechanism. A possible reaction scheme for the PEC CO2RR mediated by [C2mim]+ is proposed. Thus, our results have demonstrated for the first time the cocatalytic role of [C2mim]+ for the PEC CO2RR. In addition, electrochemical CO2RR has also been studied on various synthesized transition metal–nitrogen–carbon catalysts (M–N–Cs) by rotating disk electrode. 25%Fe25%Co–N–C exhibited the best performance among the studied M–N–Cs in this thesis. The presence of Co sites in that catalyst provided synergic effect for the generation of distributed Fe-rich microcubes, which act as active sites in electrochemical CO2RR.
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Lin Zhang. Photoelectrocatalytic CO2 conversion in ionic liquid/aqueous mixture solution studied by scanning electrochemical microscopy. Theoretical and/or physical chemistry. Sorbonne Université, 2020. English. ⟨NNT : 2020SORUS122⟩. ⟨tel-03381506⟩

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