Porous Pt–NiOx nanostructures with ultrasmall building blocks and enhanced electrocatalytic activity for the ethanol oxidation reaction†
Oxidized species on surfaces would significantly improve the electrocatalytic activity of Pt-based materials. Constructing three-dimensional porous structures would endow the catalysts with good stability. Here, we report a simple strategy to synthesize porous Pt–NiOx nanostructures composed of ultrasmall (about 3.0 nm) building blocks in an ethanol–water solvent. Structure and component analysis revealed that the as-prepared material consisted of interconnected Pt nanocrystals and amorphous NiOx species. The formation mechanism investigation revealed that the preformed amorphous compounds were vital for the construction of porous structure. In the ethanol oxidation reaction, Pt–NiOx/C exhibited current densities of 0.50 mA cmPt−2 at 0.45 V (vs. SCE), which were 16.7 times higher than that of a commercial Pt/C catalyst. Potentiostatic tests showed that Pt–NiOx/C had much higher current and better tolerance towards CO poisoning than the Pt/C catalyst under 0.45 V (vs. SCE). In addition, the NiOx species on the surface also outperformed an alloyed Ni component in the test. These results indicate that the Pt–NiOx porous nanomaterial is promising for use in direct ethanol fuel cells.