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The research team, from the University of Bath, Fudan University, Shanghai, and the Shanghai Institute of Pollution Control and Ecological Security, hopes the catalyst design will eventually allow the use of renewable electricity to convert CO2 into fuels without creating additional atmospheric carbon -- essentially acting like an electrochemical 'leaf' to convert carbon dioxide into sugars.
Using this reaction, known as the reduction of carbon dioxide, has exciting potential but two major obstacles are poor conversion efficiency of the reaction and a lack of detailed knowledge about the exact reaction pathway.
Electrode - Challenges - Conversion - Efficiency - Detection
This new electrode addresses these challenges with higher conversion efficiency and sensitive detection of molecules created along the reaction's progress -- thanks to its innovative shape and construction. The bowl shaped electrode works six times faster than standard planar -- or flat -- designs.
The bowl-like shape of the design, technically known as an "inverse opal structure" concentrates electric fields on its hot edges -- the rim of the bowl -- which then concentrates positively charged potassium ions on the active sites of the reaction, reducing its energy requirements.
Alloy - Electrode - Reaction - Process - Raman
The Copper-Indium alloy electrode can also be useful to sensitively study the reaction process via measuring the Raman signal, which is higher compared to a typical electrode.
The study is published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A.
Professor - Ventsislav - Valev - University - Bath
Professor Ventsislav Valev, from the University of Bath's Department...
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