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  1. Here we report that in situ reconstructed Cu two-dimensional (2D) defects in CuO nanowires during CO 2 RR lead to significantly enhanced activity and selectivity of C 2 H 4 compared to the CuO nanoplatelets. Specifically, the CuO nanowires achieve high faradaic efficiency of 62% for C 2 H 4 and a partial current density of 324 mA cm −2 yet at a low potential of −0.56 V versus a reversible hydrogen electrode. Structural evolution characterization and in situ Raman spectra reveal that the high yield of C 2 H 4 on CuO nanowires is attributed to the in situ reduction of CuO to Cu followed by structural reconstruction to form 2D defects, e.g. , stacking faults and twin boundaries, which improve the CO production rate and *CO adsorption strength. This finding may provide a paradigm for the rational design of nanostructured catalysts for efficient CO 2 electroreduction to C 2 H 4 .
  2. Regulating the selectivity toward a target hydrocarbon product is still the focus of CO2 electroreduction. Here, we discover that the original surface Cu species in Cu gas-diffusion electrodes plays a more important role than the surface roughness, local pH, and facet in governing the selectivity toward C1 or C2 hydrocarbons. The selectivity toward C2H4 progressively increases, while CH4 decreases steadily upon lowering the Cu oxidation species fraction. At a relatively low electrodeposition voltage of 1.5 V, the Cu gas-diffusion electrode with the highest Cuδ+/Cu0 ratio favors the pathways of hydrogenation to form CH4 with maximum Faradaic efficiency of 65.4% and partial current density of 228 mA cm−2 at −0.83 V vs RHE. At 2.0 V, the Cu gas-diffusion electrode with the lowest Cuδ+/Cu0 ratio prefers C–C coupling to form C2+ products with Faradaic efficiency topping 80.1% at −0.75 V vs RHE, where the Faradaic efficiency of C2H4 accounts for 46.4% and the partial current density of C2H4 achieves 279 mA cm−2. This work demonstrates that the selectivity from CH4 to C2H4 is switchable by tuning surface Cu species composition of Cu gas-diffusion electrodes.
  3. The selectivity towards a specific C 2+ product, such as ethylene (C 2 H 4 ), is sensitive to the surface structure of copper (Cu) catalysts in carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) electro-reduction. The fundamental understanding of such sensitivity can guide the development of advanced electrocatalysts, although it remains challenging at the atomic level. Here we demonstrated that planar defects, such as stacking faults, could drive the electrocatalysis of CO 2 -to-C 2 H 4 conversion with higher selectivity and productivity than Cu(100) facets in the intermediate potential region (−0.50 ∼ −0.65 V vs. RHE). The unique right bipyramidal Cu nanocrystals containing a combination of (100) facets and a set of parallel planar defects delivered 67% faradaic efficiency (FE) for C 2 H 4 and a partial current density of 217 mA cm −2 at −0.63 V vs. RHE. In contrast, Cu nanocubes with exclusive (100) facets exhibited only 46% FE for C 2 H 4 and a partial current density of 87 mA cm −2 at an identical potential. Both ex situ CO temperature-programmed desorption and in situ Raman spectroscopy analysis implied that the stronger *CO adsorption on planar defect sites facilitates CO generation kinetics, which contributes to amore »higher surface coverage of *CO and in turn an enhanced reaction rate of C–C coupling towards C 2+ products, especially C 2 H 4 .« less