Chem Sci. 2023 Aug 7;14(33):8962-8969. doi: 10.1039/d3sc02924g. eCollection 2023 Aug 23.
The integration of high activity, selectivity and stability in one electrocatalyst is highly desirable for electrochemical CO2 reduction (ECR), yet it is still a knotty issue. The unique electronic properties of high-nuclear clusters may bring about extraordinary catalytic performance; however, construction of a high-nuclear structure for ECR remains a challenging task. In this work, a family of calixarene-protected bismuth-oxo clusters (BiOCs), including Bi4 (BiOC-1/2), Bi8Al (BiOC-3), Bi20 (BiOC-4), Bi24 (BiOC-5) and Bi40Mo2 (BiOC-6), were prepared and used as robust and efficient ECR catalysts. The Bi40Mo2 cluster in BiOC-6 is the largest metal-oxo cluster encapsulated by calixarenes. As an electrocatalyst, BiOC-5 exhibited outstanding electrochemical stability and 97% Faraday efficiency for formate production at a low potential of -0.95 V vs. RHE, together with a high turnover frequency of up to 405.7 h-1. Theoretical calculations reveal that large-scale electron delocalization of BiOCs is achieved, which promotes structural stability and effectively decreases the energy barrier of rate-determining *OCHO generation. This work provides a new perspective for the design of stable high-nuclear clusters for efficient electrocatalytic CO2 conversion.