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Eliminating dissolution of platinum-based electrocatalysts at the atomic scale...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Nature Materials
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1207 to 1214

A remaining challenge for the deployment of proton-exchange membrane fuel cells is the limited durability of platinum (Pt) nanoscale materials that operate at high voltages during the cathodic oxygen reduction reaction. In this work, atomic-scale insight into well-defined single-crystalline, thin-film and nanoscale surfaces exposed Pt dissolution trends that governed the design and synthesis of durable materials. A newly defined metric, intrinsic dissolution, is essential to understanding the correlation between the measured Pt loss, surface structure, size and ratio of Pt nanoparticles in a carbon (C) support. It was found that the utilization of a gold (Au) underlayer promotes ordering of Pt surface atoms towards a (111) structure, whereas Au on the surface selectively protects low-coordinated Pt sites. This mitigation strategy was applied towards 3 nm Pt3Au/C nanoparticles and resulted in the elimination of Pt dissolution in the liquid electrolyte, which included a 30-fold durability improvement versus 3 nm Pt/C over an extended potential range up to 1.2 V.