Scientific reports

Enhancing the methanol tolerance of platinum nanoparticles for the cathode reaction of direct methanol fuel cells through a geometric design.

PMID 26578100


Mastery over the structure of nanoparticles might be an effective way to enhance their performance for a given application. Herein we demonstrate the design of cage-bell nanostructures to enhance the methanol tolerance of platinum (Pt) nanoparticles while remaining their catalytic activity for oxygen reduction reaction. This strategy starts with the synthesis of core-shell-shell nanoparticles with Pt and silver (Ag) residing respectively in the core and inner shell regions, which are then agitated with saturated sodium chloride (NaCl) solution to eliminate the Ag component from the inner shell region, leading to the formation of bimetallic nanoparticles with a cage-bell structure, defined as a movable Pt core enclosed by a metal shell with nano-channels, which exhibit superior methanol-tolerant property in catalyzing oxygen reduction reaction due to the different diffusion behaviour of methanol and oxygen in the porous metal shell of cage-bell structured nanoparticles. In particular, the use of remarkably inexpensive chemical agent (NaCl) to promote the formation of cage-bell structured particles containing a wide spectrum of metal shells highlights its engineering merit to produce highly selective electrocatalysts on a large scale for the cathode reaction of direct methanol fuel cells.