Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Hind Al-Abadleh

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Vladimir Kitaev

Advisor Role

Supervising committee member

Third Advisor

Dr. Yaser Abu-Lebdeh

Advisor Role

Supervising committee member


Global climate change is a major challenge facing the world in the 21st century. This environmental crisis originated from excess amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) released from burning fossil fuels. One promising remediation method to decrease atmospheric CO2 levels is called carbon dioxide electrochemical reduction (CO2ER). In CO2ER, the CO2 gas undergoes chemical reduction to other hydrocarbon fuels. For CO2ER to take place, an energy source and a catalyst are needed. In this thesis, three aspects of CO2ER were investigated using attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy coupled with other surface sensitive characterization tools. First, we studied the surface chemistry of copper oxide (CuO) nanoparticles with major CO2ER intermediates, formate (HCOO-), bicarbonate (HCO3-), and acetate (CH3COO-). We quantified the adsorption and desorption mechanisms of each intermediate in-situ and in real time under CO2ER experimental conditions (Langmuir, 2022, 38(48), 14789). The second aspect of this thesis was examining the photochemical reactivity of CuO nanoparticles mixed with Ag nanoparticles in converting surface species of CO2ER intermediates to products. The last part of this thesis involved the use of a novel spectroelectrochemical (SEC) cell to directly monitor surface species during electrochemical experiments on Cu-coated electrodes. Major results from this thesis are (1) CO2ER intermediates form mostly outer-sphere complexes with CuO nanoparticles highlighting the importance of hydrogen bonding to the CO2ER mechanism, (2) No positive effect of plasmonic properties were observed by the addition of commercial polydispersed Ag nanoparticles to CuO, and (3) the use of the SEC is highly promising to bridge the gap between IR spectroscopy and electrochemistry and gain mechanistic insights into surface processes.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Available for download on Saturday, April 20, 2024