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A neural-network-like catalyst structure for the oxygen reduction reaction: carbon nanotube bridged hollow PtCo alloy nanoparticles in a MOF-like matrix for energy technologies

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Abstract

The rational design of a catalytic layer in a membrane-electrode assembly is the key to achieve high performances from proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Herein, inspired by the neural-network structure of the brain, we constructed a bionic catalytic network for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), via setting up Pt-organic ligands–Co2+–organic ligands–Pt connections and then thermally transforming them into a metal-organic-framework (MOF)-like matrix in which hollow PtCo alloy nanoparticles (NPs) with an average particle size of 4.4 nm are bridged together by carbon nanotubes (PtCo@CNTs-MOF). The bionic catalytic network provides highly efficient linkages of various species-transport channels to active sites; as a result, an order of magnitude improvement is achieved in mass transfer efficiency as compared to the traditional Pt/C catalytic layer. Besides, the hollow PtCo alloy derived from Pt NPs shows a high initial mass activity of 852 mA mgPt−1 @ 0.90 V and an undetectable decay in an accelerated aging test. Accordingly, a remarkable Pt utilization efficiency of 58 mgPt kW−1 in the fuel cell cathode and 98 mgPt kW−1 in both the anode and cathode was eventually achieved, respectively. The latter is almost 3 times higher than that of the traditional catalytic layer. Moreover, no decay was detected during continuous operation at 1 A cm−2 for 130 hours from the bionic catalytic network based fuel cell. This strategy offers a new concept for designing an ultra-low Pt loading yet highly active and durable catalytic layer for fuel cell applications and beyond.

Graphical abstract: A neural-network-like catalyst structure for the oxygen reduction reaction: carbon nanotube bridged hollow PtCo alloy nanoparticles in a MOF-like matrix for energy technologies

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Jun 2019, accepted on 31 Jul 2019 and first published on 15 Aug 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9TA06712D
J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019, Advance Article

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    A neural-network-like catalyst structure for the oxygen reduction reaction: carbon nanotube bridged hollow PtCo alloy nanoparticles in a MOF-like matrix for energy technologies

    J. Wang, G. Wu, W. Wang, W. Xuan, J. Jiang, J. Wang, L. Li, W. Lin, W. Ding and Z. Wei, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9TA06712D

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