4.8 Article

Subsize Pt-based intermetallic compound enables long-term cyclic mass activity for fuel-cell reduction


DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2104026118


subsize Pt-based intermetallic; cyclic mass activity; fuel cells; oxygen reduction reaction


  1. National Basic Research Program of China [2017YFA0206702]
  2. Natural Science Foundation of China [21925110, 21890751, 91745113, U1832168]
  3. China Postdoctoral Science Foundation [2019TQ0299]
  4. Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities [WK 2060190084, WK5290000001]
  5. Anhui Provincial Natural Science Foundation [1808085MB26]
  6. Major/Innovative Program of Development Foundation of Hefei Center for Physical Science and Tech-nology

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By breaking the size limitation in Pt alloy systems, subsize Pt-based intermetallic compounds can simultaneously optimize MA and durability. Furthermore, the subsize scale was found to enhance the stability of membrane electrodes, preventing catalyst poisoning by ionomers in humid fuel-cell conditions.
Pt-based alloy catalysts may promise considerable mass activity (MA) for oxygen reduction but are generally unsustainable over long-term cycles, particularly in practical proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Herein, we report a series of Pt-based intermetallic compounds (Pt3Co, PtCo, and Pt3Ti) enclosed by ultra thin Pt skin with an average particle size down to about 2.3 nm, which deliver outstanding cyclic MA and durability for oxygen reduction. By breaking size limitation during ordered atomic transformation in Pt alloy systems, the MA and durability of subsize Pt-based intermetallic compounds can be simultaneously optimized. The subsize scale was also found to enhance the stability of the membrane electrode through preventing the poisoning of catalysts by ionomers in humid fuel-cell conditions. We anticipate that sub size Pt-based intermetallic compounds set a good example for the rational design of high-performance oxygen reduction electrocatalysts for PEMFCs. Furthermore, the prevention of ionomer poisoning was identified as the critical parameter for assembling robust commercial membrane electrodes in PEMFCs.


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