Improving PEM Fuel Cell Catalyst Activity and Durability Using Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Supports: Observations from Model Pt/HOPG Systems

Yingke Zhou, Robert Pasquarelli, Timothy Holme, Joe Berry, David Ginley, Ryan O'Hayre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus Citations

Abstract

This study presents clear and compelling experimental evidence for the significant beneficial effects of nitrogen-doping on the activity of Pt/C catalyst systems for the methanol oxidation reaction. This evidence is obtained through the deployment of geometrically well-defined model catalytic systems consisting of tunable assemblies of Pt catalyst nanoparticles deposited onto undoped, Ar-doped, and N-doped highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) substrates. Both Ar- and N-doping were achieved via ion beam implantation, and Pt was electrodeposited from solutions of H2PtCl6 in aqueous HClO4. Morphology from scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and aqueous electrochemical analysis of catalytic activity was utilized to examine the effect of N-doping compared to the undoped and Ar-doped control samples. The results strongly support the theory that doping nitrogen into a graphite support significantly affects both the morphology and the behavior of the overlying Pt nanoparticles. In particular, nitrogen-doping was observed to cause a significant decrease in the average Pt nanoparticle size, an increase in the Pt nanoparticle dispersion, and a significant increase in catalytic activity and durability for methanol oxidation. The model catalytic systems demonstrated here represent a versatile platform to study catalyst-support interactions in electrocatalytically relevant nanoparticle systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7830-7838
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry
Volume19
Issue number42
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-520-47047

Keywords

  • nitrogen-doped carbon
  • PEM fuel cells
  • substrate characterization

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