Copper lifts itself up
Electrocatalysts for low-temperature fuel cells often consist of precious elements, e.g. platinum, which are expensive or not readily available. Now, Kunze-Liebhäuser et al. demonstrate the ability of Earth-abundant Cu to efficiently electro-oxidize CO, a central fuel cell intermediate, through continuous surface structure changes. Cu clusters reversibly form and show optimum binding to reaction intermediates, resembling the harpooning-type mechanism in gas–solid catalysis and drawing parallels between heterogeneous thermal catalysis and heterogeneous electrocatalysis.
See Kunze-Liebhäuser et al.