Bismuth is the least toxic element among heavy metals, an outstanding advantage for environmental and health considerations. Yet, utilizing bismuth as anodic electrocatalyst is hindered by the formation of a spreading Bi(OH)3 inhibitor layer during the anodic process. Herein, we report that bismuth nanoparticles, produced using laser ablation, can avoid such drawbacks. The production of Bi(V) species assists polyol electrooxidation. For glucose, instead of the commonly reported gluconic acid as the product, the Bi(V) species enables highly selective oxidation and C–C bond cleavage to produce arabinonic acid, erythronic acid, and eventually glyceric acid. We not only generate high-valent Bi(V) species for catalytic applications, especially for bioelectrocatalysis where the less toxic bismuth is highly appreciated, but also present Bi nanoparticle as a highly selective electrocatalyst that can break C–C bond. We believe that Bi electrocatalyst can find broader applications in electrochemical biomass conversion and electrosynthesis.
- Materials Science