In recent years, the correlation between the existence of topological electronic states in materials and their catalytic activity has gained increasing attention, due to the exceptional electron conductivity and charge carrier mobility exhibited by quantum materials. However, the physicochemical mechanisms ruling catalysis with quantum materials are not fully understood. Here, we investigate the chemical reactivity, ambient stability, and catalytic activity of the topological nodal-line semimetal AuSn4. Our findings reveal that the surface of AuSn4 is prone to oxidation, resulting in the formation of a nanometric SnO2 skin. This surface oxidation significantly enhances the material’s performance as a catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction in acidic environments. We demonstrate that the peculiar atomic structure of oxidized AuSn4 enables the migration of hydrogen atoms through the Sn-O layer with a minimal energy barrier of only 0.19 eV. Furthermore, the Volmer step becomes exothermic in the presence of Sn vacancies or tin-oxide skin, as opposed to being hindered in the pristine sample, with energy values of −0.62 and −1.66 eV, respectively, compared to the +0.46 eV energy barrier in the pristine sample. Our model also suggests that oxidized AuSn4 can serve as a catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction in alkali media. Additionally, we evaluate the material’s suitability for the carbon dioxide reduction reaction, finding that the presence of topologically protected electronic states enhances the migration of hydrogen atoms adsorbed on the catalyst to carbon dioxide. © 2023 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.

Unveiling the Catalytic Potential of Topological Nodal-Line Semimetal AuSn4 for Hydrogen Evolution and CO2 Reduction

Politano, A.
Supervision
2023-01-01

Abstract

In recent years, the correlation between the existence of topological electronic states in materials and their catalytic activity has gained increasing attention, due to the exceptional electron conductivity and charge carrier mobility exhibited by quantum materials. However, the physicochemical mechanisms ruling catalysis with quantum materials are not fully understood. Here, we investigate the chemical reactivity, ambient stability, and catalytic activity of the topological nodal-line semimetal AuSn4. Our findings reveal that the surface of AuSn4 is prone to oxidation, resulting in the formation of a nanometric SnO2 skin. This surface oxidation significantly enhances the material’s performance as a catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction in acidic environments. We demonstrate that the peculiar atomic structure of oxidized AuSn4 enables the migration of hydrogen atoms through the Sn-O layer with a minimal energy barrier of only 0.19 eV. Furthermore, the Volmer step becomes exothermic in the presence of Sn vacancies or tin-oxide skin, as opposed to being hindered in the pristine sample, with energy values of −0.62 and −1.66 eV, respectively, compared to the +0.46 eV energy barrier in the pristine sample. Our model also suggests that oxidized AuSn4 can serve as a catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction in alkali media. Additionally, we evaluate the material’s suitability for the carbon dioxide reduction reaction, finding that the presence of topologically protected electronic states enhances the migration of hydrogen atoms adsorbed on the catalyst to carbon dioxide. © 2023 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/223442
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