A single-Pt-atom-on-Ru-nanoparticle electrocatalyst for CO-resilient methanol oxidation

Poerwoprajitno, A.R. and Gloag, L. and Watt, J. and Cheong, S. and Tan, X. and Lei, H. and Tahini, H.A. and Henson, A. and Subhash, B. and Bedford, N.M. and Miller, B.K. and O’Mara, P.B. and Benedetti, T.M. and Huber, D.L. and Zhang, W. and Smith, S.C. and Gooding, J.J. and Schuhmann, W. and Tilley, R.D.

Volume: 5 Pages: 231-237
DOI: 10.1038/s41929-022-00756-9
Published: 2022

Single Pt atom catalysts are key targets because a high exposure of Pt substantially enhances electrocatalytic activity. In addition, PtRu alloy nanoparticles are the most active catalysts for the methanol oxidation reaction. To combine the exceptional activity of single Pt atom catalysts with an active Ru support we must overcome the synthetic challenge of forming single Pt atoms on noble metal nanoparticles. Here we demonstrate a process that grows and spreads Pt islands on Ru branched nanoparticles to create single-Pt-atom-on-Ru catalysts. By following the spreading process by in situ TEM, we found that the formation of a stable single atom structure is thermodynamically driven by the formation of strong Pt–Ru bonds and the lowering of the surface energy of the Pt islands. The stability of the single-Pt-atom-on-Ru structure and its resilience to CO poisoning result in a high current density and mass activity for the methanol oxidation reaction over time. [Figure not available: see fulltext.] © 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

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