Evolution of the PtNi Bimetallic Alloy Fuel Cell Catalyst under Simulated Operational Conditions.

Author(s) Khalakhan, I.; Bogar, M.; Vorokhta, M.; Kúš, P.; Yakovlev, Y.; Dopita, M.; Sandbeck, D.John Seale; Cherevko, S.; Matolínová, I.; Amenitsch, H.
Journal ACS Appl Mater Interfaces
Date Published 2020 Mar 30

Comprehensive understanding of the catalyst corrosion dynamics is a prerequisite for the development of an efficient cathode catalyst in proton-exchange membrane fuel cells. To reach this aim, the behavior of fuel cell catalysts must be investigated directly under reaction conditions. Herein, we applied a strategic combination of /online techniques: electrochemical atomic force microscopy, grazing incidence small angle X-ray scattering, and electrochemical scanning flow cell with online detection by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. This combination of techniques allows in-depth investigation of the potential-dependent surface restructuring of a PtNi model thin film catalyst during potentiodynamic cycling in an aqueous acidic electrolyte. The study reveals a clear correlation between the upper potential limit and structural behavior of the PtNi catalyst, namely, its dealloying and coarsening. The results show that at 0.6 and 1.0 V upper potentials, the PtNi catalyst essentially preserves its structure during the entire cycling procedure. The crucial changes in the morphology of PtNi layers are found to occur at 1.3 and 1.5 V cycling potentials. Strong dealloying at the early stage of cycling is substituted with strong coarsening of catalyst particles at the later stage. The coarsening at the later stage of cycling is assigned to the electrochemical Ostwald ripening process.

DOI 10.1021/acsami.0c02083
ISSN 1944-8252
Citation ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2020.

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