A collaboration of Argonne researchers, using the resources of the Electron Microscopy Center (EMC), Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) and MR-CAT Sector 10 beamlines at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), report the electrocatalytic activity of a unique bimetallic Pt–Cu core–shell nanostructured catalyst toward the nonaqueous oxygen evolution reaction (OER) process. The research suggests that the team’s protocol can be generalized to guide the design of other efficient bimetallic catalysts.
Designing efficient catalysts for advanced energy applications is crucial for the effective and versatile use of energy. Particularly, the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) is a key step in many energy storage processes, such as water splitting and rechargeable metal-air batteries. However, due to the multiple electron transfer nature, the sluggish kinetics of the OER usually leads to large voltage polarization and hinders its practical applications in commercialized devices.
The oxygen evolution reaction (OER) plays a critical role in multiple energy conversion and storage applications. However, its sluggish kinetics usually results in large voltage polarization and unnecessary energy loss. Therefore, designing efficient catalysts that could facilitate this process has become an emerging topic.
Here, we present a unique Pt–Cu core–shell nanostructure for catalyzing the nonaqueous OER. The catalysts were systematically investigated with comprehensive spectroscopic techniques, and applied in nonaqueous Li–O2 electrochemical cells, which exhibited dramatically reduced charging overpotential (<0.2 V). The superior performance is explained by the robust Cu(I) surface sites stabilized by the Pt core in the nanostructure. The insights into the catalytic mechanism of the unique Pt–Cu core–shell nanostructure gained in this work are expected to serve as a guide for future design of other nanostructured bimetallic OER catalysts.
Lu Ma, Xiangyi Luo, A. Jeremy Kropf, Jianguo Wen, Xiaoping Wang, Sungsik Lee, Deborah J. Myers, Dean Miller, Tianpin Wu, Jun Lu and Khalil Amine, “Insight into the Catalytic Mechanism of Bimetallic Platinum–Copper Core–Shell Nanostructures for Nonaqueous Oxygen Evolution Reactions,” Nano Letters, Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b04794, Published Online December 28, 2015.