Mass spectrometry in electrocatalysis research

  • MP Department Seminar
  • Date: May 24, 2024
  • Time: 09:30 AM c.t. - 10:30 AM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Jana Roithova
  • Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands, see
  • Location: Haber Villa
  • Room: Seminar Room
  • Host: Department of Molecular Physics
  • Contact:
Mass spectrometry in electrocatalysis research

Understanding reaction mechanisms is the key to developing new chemical reactions. Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry has a unique dynamic range that allows for studying reaction mixture compositions, including low-abundant reactive intermediates.[1] In the lecture, I will focus on reaction intermediates in small-molecule activation electrocatalytic reactions.[2] I will also discuss advanced mass spectrometry methods, such as ion spectroscopy, to characterize the reaction intermediates.[3]

We have developed an approach to bridge voltammetry experiments with screening species formed at the electrode by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (Figure 1).[4] Our setup couples the redox waves in a cyclic voltammogram with the detected ions in mass spectra. This approach allows us to track the ions formed at the working electrode, tie them to the reaction mechanisms, and uncover the problems associated with mass transport and catalyst degradations.[5],[6]

Figure 1. VESI-MS (Voltammetry – electrospray ionization mass spectrometry) setup and an example of a voltammogram coupled with ion abundances from mass spectra in dependence of the potential.


[1] J. Mehara, J. Roithova, Identifying reactive intermediates by mass spectrometry, Chem. Sci. 2020, 11, 11960.

[2] G. L. Tripodi et al., Tracking Reaction Pathways by a Modular Flow Reactor Coupled to Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry, Chem. Methods 2021, 1, 430.

[3] J. Roithová et al., Helium Tagging Infrared Photodissociation Spectroscopy of Reactive Ions, Acc. Chem. Res. 2016, 49, 223.

[4] A. Koovakattil Surendran, J. Roithová, Decoding Voltammograms at the Molecular Frontier: Integration of Voltammetry and Mass Spectrometry , Chem. Methods. 2024, 4, e202400003.

[5] A. Koovakattil Surendran et al., Host-guest tuning of the CO2 reduction activity of an iron porphyrin cage, Nat. Sci. 2023, 3, e20220019.

[6] A. Bairagi et al., Electrocatalytic CO2 Reduction: Monitoring of Catalytically Active, Downgraded, and Upgraded Cobalt Complexes, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2024, 146, 5480 – 5492.

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