The effect of particle proximity on the oxygen reduction rate of size-selected platinum clusters

Markus Nesselberger, Melanie Roefzaad, R. Fayçal Hamou, P. Ulrich Biedermann, Florian F. Schweinberger, Sebastian Kunz, Katrin Schloegl, Gustav K.H. Wiberg, Sean Ashton, Ueli Heiz, Karl J.J. Mayrhofer, Matthias Arenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

320 Scopus citations


The diminished surface-area-normalized catalytic activity of highly dispersed Pt nanoparticles compared with bulk Pt is particularly intricate, and not yet understood. Here we report on the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity of well-defined, size-selected Pt nanoclusters; a unique approach that allows precise control of both the cluster size and coverage, independently. Our investigations reveal that size-selected Pt nanoclusters can reach extraordinarily high ORR activities, especially in terms of mass-normalized activity, if deposited at high coverage on a glassy carbon substrate. It is observed that the Pt cluster coverage, and hence the interparticle distance, decisively influence the observed catalytic activity and that closely packed assemblies of Pt clusters approach the surface activity of bulk Pt. Our results open up new strategies for the design of catalyst materials that circumvent the detrimental dispersion effect, and may eventually allow the full electrocatalytic potential of Pt nanoclusters to be realized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-924
Number of pages6
JournalNature Materials
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


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