Exploring Bi2Te3 Nanoplates as Versatile Catalysts for Electrochemical Reduction of Small Molecules

Nan Zhang, Fangfang Zheng, Bolong Huang, Yujin Ji, Qi Shao, Youyong Li, Xiangheng Xiao, Xiaoqing Huang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


The electroreduction of small molecules to high value-added chemicals is considered as a promising way toward the capture and utilization of atmospheric small molecules. Discovering cheap and efficient electrocatalysts with simultaneously high activity, selectivity, durability, and even universality is desirable yet challenging. Herein, it is demonstrated that Bi2Te3 nanoplates (NPs), cheap and noble-metal-free electrocatalysts, can be adopted as highly universal and robust electrocatalysts, which can efficiently reduce small molecules (O2, CO2, and N2) into targeted products simultaneously. They can achieve excellent activity, selectivity and durability for the oxygen reduction reaction with almost 100% H2O2 selectivity, the CO2 reduction reaction with up to 90% Faradaic efficiency (FE) of HCOOH, and the nitrogen reduction reaction with 7.9% FE of NH3. After electrochemical activation, an obvious Te dissolution happens on the Bi2Te3 NPs, creating lots of Te vacancies in the activated Bi2Te3 NPs. Theoretical calculations reveal that the Te vacancies can modulate the electronic structures of Bi and Te. Such a highly electroactive surface with a strong preference in supplying electrons for the universal reduction reactions improves the electrocatalytic performance of Bi2Te3. The work demonstrates a new class of cheap and versatile catalysts for the electrochemical reduction of small molecules with potential practical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1906477
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Bi Te nanoplates
  • carbon dioxide reduction reaction
  • electrocatalysts
  • nitrogen reduction reaction
  • oxygen reduction reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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