, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 965-980
Date: 03 Jan 2009

PtPb nanoparticle electrocatalysts: control of activity through synthetic methods

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Abstract

Solution phase synthesis of intermetallic nanoparticles without using surfactants (for catalytic applications) and subsequent control of size distribution remains a challenge: of growing interest, but not widely explored yet. To understand the questions in the syntheses of Pt containing intermetallic nanoparticles (as electrocatalysts for direct fuel cells) by using sodium naphthalide as the reducing agent, the effects of the Pt precursors’ organic ligands were investigated. PtPb syntheses were studied as the model case. In particular, methods that lead to nanoparticles that are independent single crystals are desirable. Platinum acetylacetonate, which is soluble in many organic solvents, has ligands that may interfere less with nanoparticle growth and ordering. Interesting trends, contrary to expectations, were observed when precursors were injected into a reducing agent solution at high temperatures. The presence of acetylacetonate, from the precursor, on the nanoparticles was confirmed by ATR, while SEM imaging showed evidence of morphological changes in the nanoparticles with increasing reaction temperature. A definite relationship between domain size and extent of observed residue (organic material and sodium) present on the particles could be established. By varying post-reaction solvent removal techniques, room temperature crystallization of PtPb nanoparticles was also achieved. Electrochemical activity of the nanoparticles was also much higher than that of nanoparticles synthesized by previous reaction schemes using sodium naphthalide as the reducing agent. Along with the above mentioned techniques, BET, TEM, CBED, SAED, and XRD were used as characterization tools for the prepared nanoparticles.