Precious metal nanocrystals for renewable energy electrocatalysis: structural design and controlled synthesis
Electrocatalysis plays a crucial role in the energy transformation between electricity and chemical bond. Especially, the search for high-performance electrocatalyst lies at the heart of numerous renewable energy conversion and storage technologies, such as water electrolysers and fuel cells, which potentially enable an energy-sustainable society. This Frontier article briefly describes the pathway from debates on “animal electricity” to current understanding of electrocatalysis, and how the knowledge can be harnessed to guide the discovery of well-qualified electrocatalysts based on precious metal nanocrystals. We summarize basic design principles and key parameters associated with a good electrocatalyst, and showcase the adoption of wet-chemical approaches in constructing nanocatalysts with desired structural properties. We close this article with personal perspective regarding current challenge and future research direction in this field.