A recently proposed mechanism for electrochemical CO2 reduction on Pt (111) catalyzed by aqueous acidic pyridine solutions suggests that the observed redox potential of ca. -600 mV vs. SCE is due to the one-electron reduction of pyridinium through proton coupled electron transfer (PCET) to form H atoms adsorbed on the Pt surface (Hads). The initial pyridinium reduction was probed isotopically via deuterium substitution. A combined experimental and theoretical analysis found equilibrium isotope effects (EIE) due to deuterium substitution at the acidic pyridinium site. A shift in the cathodic cyclic voltammetric half wave potential of -25 mV was observed, consistent with the theoretical prediction of -40 mV based on the recently proposed reaction mechanism where pyridinium is essential to establish a high concentration of Brønsted acid in contact with the substrate CO2 and with the Pt surface. A prefeature in the cyclic voltammogram was examined under isotopic substitution and indicated an Hads intermediate in pyridinium reduction. Theoretical prediction and observation of an EIE supported the assignment of the cathodic wave to the proposed reduction of pyridinium through PCET forming Hads and eventually H2 on the Pt surface.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry