Simple and high-yield preparation of carbon-black-supported ∼1 nm platinum nanoclusters and their oxygen reduction reactivity†
The improvement of oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalysts is essential before polymer electrolyte fuel cells can be used widely. To this end, we established a simple method for the size-selective synthesis of a series of ligand-protected platinum nanoclusters with ∼1 nm particle size (Ptn NCs; n = ∼35, ∼51, and ∼66) and narrow size distribution (±∼4 Pt atoms) under atmospheric conditions. Using this method, each ligand-protected ∼1 nm Pt NC was obtained in a relatively high yield (nearly 80% for Pt∼66). We succeeded in adsorbing each ligand-protected ∼1 nm Pt NC on carbon black (CB) and then removing most of the ligands from the surface of the Pt NCs via calcination while maintaining the original size. The obtained Pt∼35/CB, Pt∼51/CB, and Pt∼66/CB exhibited ORR mass activities that were 1.6, 2.1, and 1.6 times higher, respectively, than that of commercial CB supported-Pt nanoparticles, and also display high durability.