Novel networked wicker-like PtFe nanowires with branch-rich exteriors for efficient electrocatalysis
The construction of Pt-based networked nanowire nanocatalysts with high performance is significant in the application of direct alcohol fuel cells. However, it is still a challenge to precisely regulate the surface structure and further improve their catalytic behavior. For this purpose, we have synthesized a series of novel networked wicker-like PtFe nanowire catalysts, different from previous networked nanowire catalysts with smooth surfaces, and the PtFe catalysts possess branch-rich exteriors on the rough surface of each nanowire similar to wickers and they interconnect with each other, which lead to rich steps and defects. Importantly, after electrochemical tests, the composition-optimized Pt3Fe nanowires were found to exhibit superior catalytic performance towards the ethanol oxidation reaction (EOR) and methanol oxidation reaction (MOR) compared to that of commercial Pt/C catalysts in acid media. In particular, the specific activities of Pt3Fe nanowires are 7.3 and 7.1 times higher than those of the Pt/C catalysts for EOR and MOR, respectively. In addition, the Pt3Fe nanowires also show the best durability among these catalysts after 1000 successive cycles, and their residual activities are far better than those of the Pt/C catalysts. The synthesis of wicker-like networked PtFe nanowires offers a new guideline to tune the structure and composition of nanocatalysts for their use in direct alcohol fuel cells and beyond.