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Inhalt des Dokuments

Mehtap Oezaslan, Frederic Hasche and Peter Strasser

Pt-Based Core-Shell Catalyst Architectures for Oxygen Fuel Cell Electrodes

J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 4 (19), 3273 - 3291
DOI: 10.1021/jz4014135
Pt-based core−shell nanoparticles have emerged as a promising generation of highly active electrocatalysts to accelerate the sluggish kinetics of oxygen reduction
reaction (ORR) in fuel cell systems. Their electronic and structural properties can be easily tailored by modifying the Pt shell thickness, core composition, diameter, and shape; this results in significant improvements of activity and durability over state-of-the-art pure Pt catalysts. Prompted by the relevance of efficient and robust ORR catalysts for electrochemical energy conversion, this Perspective reviews several concepts and selected recent developments in the exploration of the structure and composition of core−shell nanoparticles. Addressing current achievements and challenges in the preparation as well as microscopic and spectroscopic characterization of core−shell nanocatalysts, a concise account of our understanding is provided on how the surface and subsurface structure of multimetallic core−shell nanoparticles affect their reactivity. Finally, perspectives for thelarge-scale implementation of core−shell catalysts in polymer exchange membrane fuel cells are discussed.
B. Johnson, F. Girgsdies, G. Weinberg, D. Rosenthal, A. Knop-Gericke,T. Reier and P. Strasser and R. Schlögl
Suitability of Simplified (Ir,Ti)Ox Films for Characterization during Electrocatalytic Oxygen Evolution Reaction
J. Phys. Chem. C 117 (48), 25443 - 25450
DOI: 10.1021/jp4048117
Simplified IrOx electrodes lacking typical mud crack structure have been produced on polycrystalline Ti cylinders with spin-coating using an iridium acetate solution and are compared to thicker samples in terms of stability, composition, and suitability as a model system. The spin-coating process forms smooth, thin islands of IrOx with limited cracking and decreases the surface-to-bulk ratio to allow a more intimate study of the growth, composition, and stability of the layer without the complications of the mud crack morphology. XPS and XRD measurements show a resulting (Ir,Ti)Ox surface (x near 2) with OH- groups and H2O. Cyclic voltammetry measurements indicate the expected high catalytic activity for the oxygen evolution reaction as well as a dry IrOx phase resulting from the thermal manufacturing process, although evidence of hydrous phases are found in XPS. Both films required only small overpotentials for the oxygen evolution reaction, with the spin-coated sample showing a slightly lower activity. CO temperature desorption spectroscopy analysis showed CO → CO2 oxidation and, in combination with XPS, an unstable surface. The oxidation of CO was not due to the TiOx, and the absence of any evidence of an Ir-suboxide phase indicates the presence of near-surface active species present after synthesis or an active surface termination.

Maria Wuithschick, Benjamin Paul, Ralf Bienert, Adnan Sarfraz, Ulla Vainio, Michael Sztucki, Ralph Kraehnert, Peter Strasser, Klaus Rademann, Franziska Emmerling and Jorg Polte
Size-Controlled Synthesis of Colloidal Silver Nanoparticles Based on Mechanistic Understanding
Chem. Mater. 25 (23), 4679 - 4689
DOI: 10.1021/cm401851g
Metal nanoparticles have attracted much attention due to their unique properties. Size control provides an effective key to an accurate adjustment of colloidal properties. The common approach to size control is testing different sets of parameters via trial and error. The actual particle growth mechanisms, and in particular the influences of synthesis parameters on the growth process, remain a black box. As a result, precise size control is rarely achieved for most metal nanoparticles. This contribution presents an approach to size control that is based on mechanistic knowledge. It is exemplified for a common silver nanoparticle synthesis, namely, the reduction of AgClO4 with NaBH4. Conducting this approach allowed a well-directed modification of this synthesis that enables, for the first time, the size-controlled production of silver nanoparticles 4−8 nm in radius without addition of any stabilization agent.

Amandine Guiet, Tobias Reier, Nina Heidary, Diana Felkel ,Benjamin Johnson, Ulla Vainio, Helmut Schlaad, Yilmaz Aksu, Matthias Driess, Peter Strasser, Arne Thomas, Jörg Polte and Anna Fischer

A One-Pot Approach to Mesoporous Metal Oxide Ultrathin Film Electrodes Bearing One Metal Nanoparticle per Pore with Enhanced Electrocatalytic Properties

Chem. Mater. 25 (23), 4645 - 4652


The controlled incorporation of single metal nanoparticles within the pores of mesostructured conducting metal oxide ultrathinfilms is demonstrated, taking advantage of the controlled metal precursor loading capacities of PS-b-P4VP inverse micellar templates. The presented one-pot approach denoted as Evaporation-Induced Hydrophobic Nanoreactor Templating (EIHNT) unusually involves the nanostructuration of the metal oxide via the hydrophobic shell of the micellar template, while the concomitant nanostructuration of the metal is achieved via its confinement in the hydrophilic micellar core. This approach is applied to tin-rich ITO and gold, to yield unique mesoporous tin-rich ITO ultrathinfilm electrodes remarkably loaded with one size-controlled gold nanoparticle per pore. Interestingly, the resulting tin-rich ITO-supported gold nanoparticles exhibit improved catalytic activity and durability in electrocatalytic CO oxidation compared to similarly sized gold nanoparticles supported on conventional ITO coatings.
Chunhua Cui, Lin Gan, Marc Heggen and Peter Strasser

Structural and Compositional Behaviors of Shaped Pt Alloy Nanoparticle Electrocatalysts

ECS Transactions 58 (1), 575 - 579

doi: 10.1149/05801.0575ecst


We present the design and synthesis of phase segregated Pt alloy nanoparticle electrocatalysts through a facile solvothermal route in a dimethylformamide solvent. The compositional segregation near the alloyed PtNi nanoparticle surface was achieved by controlling the reaction kinetics and site-dependent compositional segregation in the facet centers of the shaped PtxNi1-x nanoparticles was controlled by the bulk Pt/Ni composition ratio, respectively. Based on this unique compositional segregation, we study their atomic-scale evolution of surface microstructure and composition by using high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy with high angle annular dark field and electron energy loss spectroscopy line scans and investigate their structural and compositional behaviors under reactive environments. The surface evolution of these materials helps ones understand the reactivity and degradation of a catalyst and understand the interactions between reactants and catalysts by introducing environmental impact factors.
Jiao Wu, Zhenrong Yang, Xiaowei Li, Qijun Sun, Chao Jin, Peter Strasser, Ruiz Yang

Phosphorus-doped porous carbons as efficient electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction

J. Mater. Chem. A. 1 (34), 9889 - 9896

DOI: 10.1039/c3ta11849e


Efficient electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) play a critical role in the performance of fuel cells and metal-air batteries. In this study, we report a facile synthesis of phosphorus (P)-doped porous carbon as a highly active electrocatalyst for the ORR. Phosphorus-doped porous carbon was prepared by simultaneous doping and activation of carbon with phosphoric acid (H3PO4) in the presence of Co. Both phosphorus and cobalt were found to play significant roles in improving the catalytic activity of carbon for the ORR. The as-prepared phosphorus-doped porous carbon exhibited considerable catalytic activity for the ORR as evidenced by rotating ring-disk electrode studies. At the same mass loading, the Tafel slope of phosphorus-doped porous carbon electrocatalysts is comparable to that of the commercial Pt/C catalysts (20 wt% Pt on Vulcan XC-72, Johnson Matthey) with stability superior to Pt/C in alkaline solutions.
Mahdi Ahmadi, Farzad Behafarid, Chunhua Cui, Peter Strasser and Beatriz Roldan Cuenya

Long-Range Segregation Phenomena in Shape-Selected Bimetallic Nanoparticles: Chemical State Effects

ACS Nano 7 (10), 9195 - 9204



A study of the morphological and chemical stability of shape-selected octahedral Pt0.5Ni0.5 nanoparticles (NPs) supported on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) is presented. Ex situ atomic force microscopy (AFM) and in situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measurements were used to monitor the mobility of Pt0.5Ni0.5 NPs and to study long-range atomic segregation and alloy formation phenomena under vacuum, H2, and O2 environments. The chemical state of the NPs was found to play a pivotal role in their surface composition after different thermal treatments. In particular, for these ex situ synthesized NPs, Ni segregation to the NP surface was observed in all environments as long as PtOx species were present. In the presence of oxygen, an enhanced Ni surface segregation was observed at all temperatures. In contrast, in hydrogen and vacuum, the Ni outward segregation occurs only at low temperature (<200-270  °C), while PtOx species are still present. At higher temperatures, the reduction of the Pt oxide species results in Pt diffusion toward the NP surface and the formation of a Ni-Pt alloy. A consistent correlation between the NP surface composition and its electrocatalytic CO oxidation activity was established.
Rulle Reske, Matteo Duca, Mehtap Oezaslan, Klaas Jan P. Schouten, Marc T. M. Koper and Peter Strasser

Controlling Catalytic Selectivities during CO2 Electroreduction on Thin Cu Metal Overlayers

J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 4 (15), 2410 - 2413

DOI: 10.1021/jz401087q


The catalytic activity and selectivity of the electrochemical CO2 reduction on Cu overlayers with varying atomic-scale thickness on Pt was investigated. Hydrogen, methane, and ethylene were the main products. Beyond an activity improvement with increasing copper layer thickness, we observed that the thickest 15 nm Cu layer behaved bulk-like and resulted in high relative faradaic selectivities for hydrocarbons. With decreasing Cu layer thickness, the formation of methane decreased much faster than that of ethylene. As a result, the relative faradaic selectivity of the technologically useful product ethylene increased sharply. The selectivity ratios between methane and ethylene were independent of electrode potential on a Cu monolayer. A combination of geometric tensile strain effects and electronic effects is believed to control the surface reactivity and product distribution on the copper surfaces. This study highlights the general strategy to tune product distributions on thin metal overlayers.
Gan, Lin Gan, Marc Heggen and Peter Strasser

Subsurface Enrichment of Highly Active Dealloyed Pt-Ni Catalyst Nanoparticles for Oxygen Reduction Reaction

ECS Transactions 50 (2), 1627 - 1631

doi: 10.1149/05002.1627ecst


We present the synthesis of homogenous PtNi and PtNi3 alloy nanoparticles by organic solution approach, which showed 4-5 fold increases in Pt-mass normalized activity of oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) compared to conventional Pt catalyst after electrochemical dealloying. Using aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy, we found that there is a strong tendency of subsurface enrichment of Ni in the dealloyed Pt-Ni nanoparticles at a higher initial Ni composition (PtNi3), which therefore resulted in unusual core-shell fine structures. Based on this, a correlation of near-surface compositions to the ORR activities of the dealloyed Pt-Ni catalyst nanoparticles was established.
Arno Bergmann, Ivelina Zaharieva, Holger Dau and Peter Strasser

Electrochemical water splitting by layered and 3D cross-linked manganese oxides: correlating structural motifs and catalytic activity

Energy Environ. Sci. 6, 2745 - 2755

DOI: 10.1039/C3EE41194J


Manganese based precious metal-free electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) are promising materials for energy storage systems based on dark or photo-coupled water electrolysis, because they are active, inexpensive and of low toxicity. In this work, atomic scale structure–activity relationships of two different nano-structured manganese oxides, MnOx, are established using a combination of X-ray absorption, diffraction and electrochemistry. Prepared by chemical symproportionation (s-MnOx) and impregnation (i-MnOx), the s-MnOx catalyst consisted of a layered structure similar to δ-MnO2 while the i-MnOx catalyst displayed a mixture of tunnelled, 3D cross-linked β- and defective γ-MnO2 structures. During electrocatalytic oxygen evolution the structural motifs of both MnOx remain largely unchanged, but the oxidation state of Mn increases from 3.5 to 3.9–4. Kinetic parameters of the electrocatalytic oxygen evolution reaction were extracted using Tafel slope analysis and pH titration experiment, and the role of the protons abstracted was analyzed. The study reveals fundamental differences of general importance in the catalytic activity between layered and cross-linked structures. The exclusive presence of di-μ-oxo-bridged Mn ions in the layered structure is coupled to a pronounced redox and charge capacity behaviour. This ensured efficient use of surface and bulk active sites, and resulted in a relatively large Tafel slope. Consequently, the intrinsic OER activity is especially high in s-MnOx. In contrast, 3D cross-linked structures with both mono- and di-μ-oxo-bridged Mn ions resulted in lower intrinsic activity but smaller Tafel slope, and thus favourable activity at technological water-splitting rates. The insights from this comparative study will provide guidance in the structural design and optimization of other non precious metal oxide OER catalysts.
Lin Gan, Stefan Rudi, Chunhua Cui and Peter Strasser

Ni-Catalyzed Growth of Graphene layers during Thermal Annealing: Implications for the Synthesis of Carbon-Supported Pt-Ni Fuel-Cell Catalysts

ChemCatChem 5, 2691 – 2694

DOI: 10.1002/cctc.201300235


Thermal annealing is an important and widely adopted step during the synthesis of Pt bimetallic fuel-cell catalysts, although it faces the inevitable drawback of particle sintering. Understanding this sintering mechanism is important for the future development of highly active and robust fuel-cell catalysts. Herein, we studied the particle sintering during the thermal annealing of carbon-supported Pt1–xNix (PtNi, PtNi3, and PtNi5) nanoparticles, a reported recently class of highly active fuel-cell catalysts. By using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, we found that annealing at an intermediate temperature (400 °C) effectively increased the extent of alloying without particle sintering; however, high-temperature annealing (800 °C) caused severe particle sintering, which, unexpectedly, was strongly dependent on the composition of the alloy, thus showing that a higher Ni content resulted in a higher extent of particle sintering. This result can be ascribed to the solid-state transformation of the carbon support into graphene layers, catalyzed by Ni-richer catalyst, which, in turn, promoted particle migration/coalescence and, hence, more-significant sintering. Therefore, our results provide important insight for the synthesis of carbon-supported Pt-alloy fuel-cell catalysts.
Nadine Menzel, Erik Ortel, Katharina Mette, Ralph Kraehnert and Peter Strasser

Dimensionally Stable Ru/Ir/TiO2-Anodes with Tailored Mesoporosity for Efficient Electrochemical Chlorine Evolution

ACS Catal. 3 (6), 1324 - 1333

DOI: 10.1021/cs4000238


Chlorine evolution is one of the most important electrochemical reactions applied in industry. We present a method for the synthesis of chlorine evolution catalysts with improved performance. The performance increase results from the introduction of controlled mesoporosity into the pore system of Ru- and Ir-containing TiO2 catalysts by pore templating with micelles of amphiphilic block-copolymers. Micelle-templated TiO2-based catalysts were synthesized with loadings up to 15 wt % of either Ru, Ir, or a combination of both active metals. The catalysts' walls are composed of nanocrystalline mixed oxides with rutile structure. The templated mesopores are about 10 nm in size and form an ordered cubic pore system with good pore connectivity. All studied catalysts are active in chlorine evolution. Adding templated mesoporosity doubles the catalyst performance at identical catalyst composition. The influences of film thickness, composition, and porosity of the developed catalytic coatings on the catalytic performance are discussed.
Björn Eckhardt, Erik Ortel, Denis Bernsmeier, Jörg Polte, Peter Strasser, Ulla Vainio, Franziska Emmerling and Ralph Kraehnert

Micelle-Templated Oxides and Carbonates of Zinc, Cobalt, and Aluminum and a Generalized Strategy for Their Synthesis

Chem. Mater. 25 (14), 2749 – 2758


Catalysis, energy storage, and light harvesting require functional materials with tailored porosity and nanostructure. However, common synthesis methods that employ polymer micelles as structure-directing agents fail for zinc oxide, for cobalt oxide, and for metal carbonates in general. We report the synthesis of the oxides and carbonates of zinc, cobalt, and aluminum with micelle-templated structure. The synthesis relies on poly(ethylene oxide)-block-poly(butadiene)-block-poly(ethylene oxide) triblock copolymers and a new type of precursor formed by chemical complexation of a metal nitrate with citric acid. A general synthesis mechanism is deduced. Mechanistic insights allow for the prediction of optimal processing conditions for different oxides and carbonates based on simple thermogravimetric analysis. Employing this synthesis, films of ZnO and Co3O4 with micelle-controlled mesoporosity become accessible for the first time. It is the only soft-templating method reported so far that also yields mesoporous metal carbonates. The developed synthesis is generic in nature and can be applied to many other metal oxides and carbonates.
Lin Gan, Marc Heggen, Rachel O'Malley, Brian Theobald and Peter Strasser

Understanding and Controlling Nanoporosity Formation for Improving the Stability of Bimetallic Fuel Cell Catalysts

Nano Lett. 13 (3),1131 - 1138

DOI: 10.1021/nl304488q


Nanoporosity is a frequently reported phenomenon in bimetallic particle ensembles used as electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in fuel cells. It is generally considered a favorable characteristic, because it increases the catalytically active surface area. However, the effect of nanoporosity on the intrinsic activity and stability of a nanoparticle electrocatalyst has remained unclear. Here, we present a facile atmosphere-controlled acid leaching technique to control the formation of nanoporosity in Pt-Ni bimetallic nanoparticles. By statistical analysis of particle size, composition, nanoporosity, and atomic-scale core?shell fine structures before and after electrochemical stability test, we uncover that nanoporosity formation in particles larger than ca. 10 nm is intrinsically tied to a drastic dissolution of Ni and, as a result of this, a rapid drop in intrinsic catalytic activity during ORR testing, translating into severe catalyst performance degradation. In contrast, O2-free acid leaching enabled the suppression of nanoporosity resulting in more solid core-shell particle architectures with thin Pt-enriched shells; surprisingly, such particles maintained high intrinsic activity and improved catalytic durability under otherwise identical ORR tests. On the basis of these findings, we suggest that catalytic stability could further improve by controlling the particle size below ca. 10 nm to avoid nanoporosity. Our findings provide an explanation for the degradation of bimetallic particle ensembles and show an easy to implement pathway toward more durable fuel cell cathode catalysts.
Samira Siahrostami, Mårten E. Björketun, Peter Strasser, Jeff Greeley and Jan Rossmeisl

Tandem cathode for proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 15 (23), 9326 - 9334

DOI: 10.1039/c3cp51479j


The efficiency of proton exchange membrane fuel cells is limited mainly by the oxygen reduction reaction at the cathode. The large cathodic overpotential is caused by correlations between binding energies of reaction intermediates in the reduction of oxygen to water. This work introduces a novel tandem cathode design where the full oxygen reduction, involving four electron-transfer steps, is divided into formation (equilibrium potential 0.70 V) followed by reduction (equilibrium potential 1.76 V) of hydrogen peroxide. The two part reactions contain only two electron-transfer steps and one reaction intermediate each, and they occur on different catalyst surfaces. As a result they can be optimized independently and the fundamental problem associated with the four-electron catalysis is avoided. A combination of density functional theory calculations and published experimental data is used to identify potentially active and selective materials for both catalysts. Co-porphyrin is recommended for the first step, formation of hydrogen peroxide, and three different metal oxides - SrTiO3(100), CaTiO3(100) and WO3(100) - are suggested for the subsequent reduction step.
Chunhua Cui, Mahdi Ahmadi, Farzad Behafarid, Lin Gan, Maximilian Neumann, Marc Heggen, Beatriz R. Cuenya and Peter. Strasser

Shape-selected bimetallic nanoparticle electrocatalysts: evolution of their atomic-scale structure, chemical composition, and electrochemical reactivity under various chemical environments

Faraday Discuss. 162 , 91 - 112


Solid surfaces generally respond sensitively to their environment. Gas phase or liquid phase species may adsorb and react with individual surface atoms altering the solid-gas and solid-liquid electronic and chemical properties of the interface. A comprehensive understanding of chemical and electrochemical interfaces with respect to their responses to external stimuli is still missing. The evolution of the structure and composition of shape-selected octahedral PtNi nanoparticles (NPs) in response to chemical (gas-phase) and electrochemical (liquid-phase) environments was studied, and contrasted to that of pure Pt and spherical PtNi NPs. The NPs were exposed to thermal annealing in hydrogen, oxygen, and vacuum, and the resulting NP surface composition was analyzed using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). In gaseous environments, the presence of O2 during annealing (300 °C) lead to a strong segregation of Ni species to the NP surface, the formation of NiO, and a Pt-rich NP core, while a similar treatment in H2 lead to a more homogenous Pt-Ni alloy core, and a thinner NiO shell. Further, the initial presence of NiO species on the as-prepared samples was found to influence the atomic segregation trends upon low temperature annealing (300 °C). This is due to the fact that at this temperature nickel is only partially reduced, and NiO favors surface segregation. The effect of electrochemical cycling in acid and alkaline electrolytes on the structure and composition of the octahedral PtNi NPs was monitored using image-corrected high resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and high-angle annular dark field scanning TEM (HAADF-STEM). Sample pretreatments in surface active oxygenates, such as oxygen and hydroxide anions, resulted in oxygen-enriched Ni surfaces (Ni oxides and/or hydroxides). Acid treatments were found to strongly reduce the content of Ni species on the NP surface, via its dissolution in the electrolyte, leading to a Pt-skeleton structure, with a thick Pt shell and a Pt-Ni core. The presence of Ni hydroxides on the NP surface was shown to improve the kinetics of the electrooxidation of CO and the electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reactions. The affinity to water and the oxophilicity of Ni hydroxides are proposed as likely origin of the observed effects.
Chunhua Cui, Lin Gan, Marc Heggen, Stefan Rudi and Peter Strasser

Compositional Segregation in shaped Pt alloy nanoparticles and their structural behaviour during electrocatalysis

Nature Materials 12 (8), 765  - 771


Shape-selective monometallic nanocatalysts offer activity benefits based on structural sensitivity and high surface area. In bimetallic nanoalloys with well-defined shape, site-dependent metal surface segregation additionally affects the catalytic activity and stability. However, segregation on shaped alloy nanocatalysts and their atomic-scale evolution is largely unexplored. Exemplified by three octahedral PtxNi1−x alloy nanoparticle electrocatalysts with unique activity for the oxygen reduction reaction at fuel cell cathodes, we reveal an unexpected compositional segregation structure across the {111} facets using aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy and electron energy-loss spectroscopy. In contrast to theoretical predictions, the pristine PtxNi1−x nano-octahedra feature a Pt-rich frame along their edges and corners, whereas their Ni atoms are preferentially segregated in their {111} facet region. We follow their morphological and compositional evolution in electrochemical environments and correlate this with their exceptional catalytic activity. The octahedra preferentially leach in their facet centres and evolve into ‘concave octahedra’. More generally, the segregation and leaching mechanisms revealed here highlight the complexity with which shape-selective nanoalloys form and evolve under reactive conditions.
Xenia Tuaev, Stefan Rudi, Valeri Petkov, Armin Hoell and Peter Strasser

In Situ Study of Atomic Structure Transformations of Pt-Ni Nanoparticle Catalysts during Electrochemical Potential Cycling

ACS Nano 7 (7), 5666 – 5674

DOI: 10.1021/nn402406k


When exposed to corrosive anodic electrochemical environments, Pt alloy nanoparticles (NPs) undergo selective dissolution of the less noble component, resulting in catalytically active bimetallic Pt-rich core-shell structures. Structural evolution of PtNi6 and PtNi3 NP catalysts during their electrochemical activation and catalysis was studied by in situ anomalous small-angle X-ray scattering to obtain insight in element-specific particle size evolution and time-resolved insight in the intraparticle structure evolution. Ex situ high-energy X-ray diffraction coupled with pair distribution function analysis was employed to obtain detailed information on the atomic-scale ordering, particle phases, structural coherence lengths, and particle segregation. Our studies reveal a spontaneous electrochemically induced formation of PtNi particles of ordered Au3Cu-type alloy structures from disordered alloy phases (solid solutions) concomitant with surface Ni dissolution, which is coupled to spontaneous residual Ni metal segregation during the activation of PtNi6. Pt-enriched core-shell structures were not formed using the studied Ni-rich nanoparticle precursors. In contrast, disordered PtNi3 alloy nanoparticles lose Ni more rapidly, forming Pt-enriched core-shell structures with superior catalytic activity. Our X-ray scattering results are confirmed by STEM/EELS results on similar nanoparticles.
Ruizhi Yang, Weiyong Bian, Peter Strasser, Michael F. Toney

Dealloyed PdCu3 thin film electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction

Journal of Power Sources 222, 169 - 176 

DOI: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2012.08.064


The catalytic activity of electrochemically dealloyed PdCu3 thin films for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in acidic media has been studied by using a rotating disk electrode (RDE). The dealloyed PdCu3 thin films show a ∼2.0 fold increase in the specific oxygen reduction activity over pure Pd thin films. The structure of electrochemically dealloyed PdCu3 thin films has been investigated at an atomic scale by synchrotron-based anomalous X-ray diffraction (AXRD). AXRD reveals that a Pd enriched surface layer is formed in the dealloyed film and a compressive lattice strain exists in this Pd surface layer. The enhanced catalytic activity of dealloyed Pd-Cu films for the ORR is primarily due to the compressive strain in the surface layer. We compare the structure-composition-catalytic activity relationships in dealloyed Pd-Cu thin films to related results on dealloyed Pt-Cu thin films. These studies show that dealloying and the resulting structure and the ORR activity are dependent on the nature of the noble component of alloy.
F. Münch, M. Özaslan, M. Rauber, S. Kaserer, A. Fuchs, E. Mankel, J. Brotz, P. Strasser, C. Roth, W. Ensinger

Electroless synthesis of nanostructured nickel and nickel-boron tubes and their performance as unsupported ethanol electrooxidation catalysts

Journal of Power Sources 222, 243 - 252 

DOI: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2012.08.067


Considering the low abundance of platinum group metals and the high catalytic performance of nickel for the oxidation of small organic molecules, nickel catalysts are promising substitutional materials for direct alcohol fuel cells. Despite the simplicity, good scalability and flexibility of electroless plating, reports on the fabrication of nickel-based catalysts with this method are rare, in particular regarding the deposition of pure nickel. To expand the existing synthetic repertoire, we developed an electroless plating bath allowing the homogeneous deposition of spiky nickel films on very complex shaped substrates. Nanostructured nickel and nickel-boron tubes were obtained by combination of the new and a borane-based plating reaction polymer templates, respectively. The composition, morphology and crystallinity of the products was comprehensively investigated with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Finally, the nickel and nickel-boron tubes were applied as unsupported electrocatalysts for the oxidation of ethanol (EtOH) in alkaline environment. Compared to a macroscopic reference, both of the nanostructured catalysts showed improved utilization of high EtOH concentrations and considerably increased oxidation activities, rendering the applied deposition reactions promising routes towards novel catalysts for direct alcohol fuel cells.

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