The particle proximity effect: from model to high surface area fuel cell catalysts†
In this work, Pt nanoparticles prepared by a colloidal method are supported on high surface area carbons. The electrocatalysts synthesized by this method have well-separated, size-controlled nanoparticles with tunable interparticle distance, and thus enable the examination of the particle proximity effect on the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). The particle proximity effect proposes that the activity of fuel cell catalysts depends on the distance between the catalyst particles and is here for the first time demonstrated for high surface area catalysts; i.e. catalysts which can be used in fuel cells. Based on rotating disk electrode (RDE) experiments, we show that the kinetic current density of ORR depends on the distance between the neighboring nanoparticles, i.e. the ORR activity increases with decreasing interparticle distance.