Influence of particle agglomeration on the catalytic activity of carbon-supported Pt nanoparticles in CO monolayer oxidation

F. Maillard, S. Schreier, M. Hanzlik, E. R. Savinova, S. Weinkauf, U. Stimming

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Abstract

Fuel cell electrocatalysts usually feature high noble metal contents, and these favour particle agglomeration. In this paper a variety of synthetic approaches (wet chemical deposition, electrodeposition and electrodeposition on chemically preformed Pt nuclei) is employed to shed light on the influence of nanoparticle agglomeration on their electrocatalytic properties. Pt loading on model glassy carbon (GC) support is increased systematically from 1.8 to 10.6 μg Pt cm-2 and changes in the catalyst structure are followed by transmission electron microscopy. At low metal loadings (≤ 5.4 μg Pt cm-2) isolated single crystalline Pt nanoparticles are formed on the support surface by wet chemical deposition from H2PtCl4 precursor. An increase in the metal loading results, first, in a systematic increase of the average diameter of isolated Pt nanoparticles and, second, in coalescence of nanoparticles and formation of particle agglomerates. This behaviour is in line with the previous observations on carbon-supported noble metal fuel cell electrocatalysts. The catalytic activity of Pt/GC electrodes is tested in CO monolayer oxidation. In agreement with the previous studies (F. Maillard, M. Eikerling, O. V. Cherstiouk, S. Schreier, E. Savinova and U. Stimming, Faraday Discuss., 2004, 125, 357), we find that the reaction is strongly size sensitive, exhibiting an increase of the reaction overpotential as the particle size decreases below ca. 3 nm. At larger particle sizes the dependence levels off, the catalytic activity of particles with diameters above 3 nm approaching that of polycrystalline Pt. Meanwhile, Pt agglomerates show remarkably enhanced catalytic activity in comparison to either isolated Pt nanopraticles or polycrystalline Pt foil, catalysing CO monolayer oxidation at ca. 90 mV lower overpotential. Enhanced catalytic activity of Pt agglomerates is ascribed to high concentration of surface defects. CO stripping voltammograms from Pt/GC electrodes, comprising Pt agglomerates along with isolated single crystalline Pt nanoparticles from 2 to 6 nm size, feature double voltammetric peaks, the more negative corresponding to CO oxidation on Pt agglomerates, while the more positive to CO oxidation on isolated Pt nanoparticles. It is shown that CO stripping voltammetry provides a fingerprint of the particle size distribution and the extent of particle agglomeration in carbon-supported Pt catalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-393
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 21 Jan 2005

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