Cluster organization in co-sputtered platinum-carbon films as revealed by grazing incidence X-ray scattering
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Nanostructured platinum-carbon thin films were prepared by magnetron co-sputtering method for designing efficient catalytic thin films, like fuel cells electrodes. The in-depth morphology of composite films was studied using surface sensitive X-ray techniques (grazing incidence small-angle scattering and reflectivity), consolidated by electron microscopy investigations. This study elucidates the growth mode of co-sputtered platinum-carbon thin film: 2-nm-sized platinum clusters are growing in surrounding simultaneously growing carbon columns (20-nm diameter range). In particular, the platinum cluster growth and distribution in the plane of the substrate surface are driven by surface diffusion and coalescence phenomena. Finally, this anisotropic distribution of platinum clusters correlated to the textured morphology of carbon matrix leads to a catalytic thin film morphology very suitable for electrochemical processes in fuel cell electrodes.
KeywordsPlatinum GISAXS Nanostructured films Clusters Sputtering Fuel cells
The authors thank the SOLEIL French synchrotron committee for beam time allocation and the beamline teams for technical assistance during X-ray scattering experiments. The magnetron sputtering system PulP is made available graciously by MID Dreux Innovation. CNRS is gratefully acknowledged for granting the projects ‘PIE AMELi-0Pt and AMEPlas.’
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