University of Limerick
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Elucidation of structure–activity relations in proton  electroreduction at Pd surfaces: Theoretical and  experimental study

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-25, 09:10 authored by Thorsten O. Schmidt, Apinya NgoipalaApinya Ngoipala, Ryan ArevaloRyan Arevalo, Sebastian A. Watzele, Raju LipinRaju Lipin, Regina M. Kluge, Shujin Hou, Richard W. Haid, Anatoliy Senyshyn, Elena L. Gubanova, Aliaksandr S. Bandarenka, MATTHIAS VANDICHELMATTHIAS VANDICHEL

The structure–activity relationship is a cornerstone topic in catalysis, which lays the foundation for the design and functionalization of catalytic materials. Of particular interest is the catalysis of the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) by palladium (Pd), which is envisioned to play a major role in realizing a hydrogen-based economy. Interestingly, experimentalists observed excess heat generation in such systems, which became known as the debated “cold fusion” phenomenon. Despite the considerable attention on this report, more fundamental knowledge, such as the impact of the formation of bulk Pd hydrides on the nature of active sites and the HER activity, remains largely unexplored. In this work, classical electrochemical experiments performed on model Pd(hkl) surfaces, “noise” electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy (n-EC-STM), and density functional theory are combined to elucidate the nature of active sites for the HER. Results reveal an activity trend following Pd(111) > Pd(110) > Pd(100) and that the forma?tion of subsurface hydride layers causes morphological changes and strain, which affect the HER activity and the nature of active sites. These findings provide significant insights into the role of subsurface hydride formation on the structure–activity relations toward the design of efficient Pd-based nanocatalysts for the HER.


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