3 years ago

Ultrathin Carbon-Coated Pt/Carbon Nanotubes: A Highly Durable Electrocatalyst for Oxygen Reduction

Ultrathin Carbon-Coated Pt/Carbon Nanotubes: A Highly Durable Electrocatalyst for Oxygen Reduction
Shuhui Sun, Jianming Zhang, Xin Tong, Régis Chenitz, Gaixia Zhang, Jerome P. Claverie, Qiliang Wei
Nanostructures constituted of Pt nanoparticles (NPs) supported on carbon materials are considered to be among the most active oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalysts for fuel cells. However, in practice, the usage of such ORR catalysts is limited by their insufficient durability caused by the low physical and chemical stability of Pt NPs during the reaction. We herein present a strategy to synthesize highly durable and active electrocatalysts composed of Pt NPs supported on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and covered with an ultrathin layer of graphitic carbon. Such hybrid ORR catalysts were obtained by an interfacial in situ polymer encapsulation–graphitization method, where a glucose-containing polymer was grown directly on the surface of Pt/CNTs. The thickness of the carbon-coating layer can be precisely tuned between 0.5 nm and several nanometers by simply programming the polymer growth on Pt/CNTs. The resulting Pt/CNTs@C with a carbon layer thickness of ∼0.8 nm (corresponding to ∼2–3 graphene layers) showed high activity, and excellent durability, with no noticeable activity loss, even after 20 000 cycles of accelerated durability tests. These ultrathin carbon coatings not only act as a protective layer to prevent aggregation of Pt NPs but they also lead to better sample dispersion in solvent which are devoid of aggregates, resulting in a better utilization of Pt. We envision that this polymeric nanoencapsulation strategy is a promising technique for the production of highly active and stable ORR catalysts for fuel cells and metal–air batteries.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b04221

DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b04221

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