Layered Sn-Au Thin Films for Increased Electrochemical ATR-SEIRAS Enhancement

Yuval Fishler, Noemi Leick, Glenn Teeter, Adam Holewinski, Wilson Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


Operando electrochemical attenuated total reflection surface-enhanced infrared absorption spectroscopy (EC ATR-SEIRAS) is a valuable method for a fundamental understanding of electrochemical interfaces under real operating conditions. The applicability of this method depends on the ability to tune the optical and catalytic properties of an electrode film, and it thus requires unique optimization for any given material. Motivated by the growing interest in Sn-based electrocatalysts for selective reduction of CO2 to formate species, we investigate several Sn thin-film synthesis routes for the resulting SEIRA signal response. We compare the SEIRA performance of thermally evaporated metallic Sn to a series of Sn-based films on top of a SEIRA-active Au substrate (metallic Sn, oxide-derived metallic Sn, and metal oxide SnOx). Using alkanethiol self-assembled monolayers as a probe, we find that electrodepositing metallic catalyst films on top of SEIRA-active Au substrates yield higher signal relative to thermal evaporation as well as higher signal than the independent SEIRA-active Au underlayer. These observations come despite the fact that thermally evaporated Sn has a significantly higher surface roughness (and thus higher adsorbate population), suggesting specific SEIRA-magnifying effects for the stacked films. Finally, we applied these films to observe the electrochemical conversion of CO2. Differences are observed in spectral features based on the composition of the electrode being either metallic or oxide-derived metallic Sn, implying differences in their respective reaction pathways.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)19780-19791
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-87181


  • CO2 reduction
  • composite films
  • electrocatalysis
  • in situ ATR-SEIRAS
  • layered thin films
  • signal enhancement
  • Sn-based electrocatalyst


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