Optimization of Extended-Surface PtNi Nanowire Oxygen Reduction Electrocatalysts Produced via Atomic Layer Deposition

Sarah Zaccarine, Shaun Alia, W. McNeary, Raphael Chattot, Michael Dzara, Isaac Martens, Scott Mauger, Alan Weimer, Jakub Drnec, Bryan Pivovar, Svitlana Pylypenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus Citations


Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) produce electricity with only heat and water as byproducts, but sluggish kinetics of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) at the cathode and durability limitations restrict widespread commercialization, motivating the development of advanced catalysts. In this work, extended-surface platinum nickel (PtNi) nanowires (NWs) synthesized using the scalable atomic layer deposition (ALD) technique are investigated with the goal of exploring the durability benefits of high-aspect-ratio electrocatalysts and the tunability of beneficial kinetic properties. The surface and bulk composition and the structure of the PtNi NWs were investigated as a function of a series of postsynthesis modifications. The results from a combination of electron microscopy and X-ray spectroscopy characterization techniques were correlated to electrochemical performance to gain a comprehensive understanding of the structure-property-performance relationships. The robust structure of the ALD-derived NWs enabled additional postsynthesis optimization steps, which were not possible with previous-generation materials synthesized via spontaneous galvanic displacement, resulting in a catalyst with beneficial properties for catalyst kinetics as well as improved durability. Our study demonstrates potential pathways toward further improving the performance of this class of materials through optimization of bulk and surface properties of the catalyst.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4587-4602
Number of pages16
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-82468


  • defects
  • extended surface
  • oxygen reduction catalysts
  • platinum alloy
  • polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells
  • PtNi


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