Revealing the nature of active sites in electrocatalysis
Heterogeneous electrocatalysis plays a central role in the development of sustainable, carbon-neutral pathways for energy provision and the production of various chemicals. It determines the overall efficiency of electrochemical devices that involve catalysis at the electrode/electrolyte interface. In this perspective, we discuss key aspects for the identification of active centers at the surface of electrocatalysts and important factors that influence them. The role of the surface structure, nanoparticle shape/size and the electrolyte composition in the resulting catalytic performance is of particular interest in this work. We highlight challenges that from our point of view need to be tackled, and provide guidelines for the design of “real life” electrocatalysts for renewable energy provision systems as well as for the production of industrially important compounds.