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Influence of sub-zero temperature on nucleation and growth of copper nanoparticles in electrochemical reactions.

Abstract

Cu metal nanostructures have attracted wide interest of study as catalysts for CO2 reduction reaction and other applications. Controlling the structure and morphology of Cu nanostructures during synthesis is crucial for achieving desired properties. Here, we studied temperature effects on electrochemical deposition of Cu nanoparticles. We found the size, nucleation density, and crystallinity of Cu nanoparticles are strongly influenced by low temperature processing. The electrodeposition at low temperature (-20°C) results in clusters of assembled small Cu nanoparticles, which is distinctly different from the large individual highly crystalline Cu nanoparticles obtained from the room temperature process. The differences in Cu nanoparticle morphology and crystallinity are attributed to the variations in reduction reaction rate and surface diffusion. The limitation of the reaction rate promotes multiple nuclei, and low surface diffusion induces poor crystallinity. This study deepens our understanding of low-temperature effects on electrochemical processes assisting the design of diverse hierarchical catalytic materials.

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