Topics in Catalysis

, Volume 46, Issue 3–4, pp 263–275 | Cite as

XPS Structural Studies of Nano-composite Non-platinum Electrocatalysts for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells

  • Kateryna Artyushkova
  • Stephen Levendosky
  • Plamen Atanassov
  • Julia Fulghum
Original Paper


The chemical structure of non-platinum electrocatalysts obtained from cobalt porphyrins (CoTMPP or CoTPP) by pyrolysis is investigated by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). The catalysts represent highly dispersed, self-supported nano-composites that demonstrate electrocatalytic performance for oxygen reduction and practically no activity in methanol electro-oxidation. High-resolution Co2p, C1s, N1s and O1s XPS spectra acquired from precursors and electrocatalysts pyrolyzed at various experimental conditions were curve-fit using (a) individual peaks of constrained width and shape as well as (b) experimentally obtained photopeaks from the precursor with additional peaks required for a complete curve fit. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) applied to quantitative results from the curve-fits of both types of spectra facilitates visualization and identification of the chemical species that are formed or destroyed, and simplifies evaluation of critical correlations. As a result of these studies it is established that the catalyst is a nano-composite of highly dispersed pyropolymer with some remaining N x -centers inserted into a graphite-like matrix. Approximately 50% of the metal is distributed as Co2+, associated with N4-centers. The remaining cobalt is present in crystallites of metallic Co. A thin layer of CoO coats these metallic cobalt phases. The developed methodology, described herein, combines model curve-fits and principal component analysis (PCA), resulting in a quantitative and unambiguous understanding of the chemical composition and structure of complex electrocatalysts.


Non-platinum electrocatalysts Structural studies XPS Multivariate analysis PCA 



This work is supported by NSF CHE-9613880. The XPS was funded by a grant from the Keck Foundation and NSF CHE-0113724.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kateryna Artyushkova
    • 1
  • Stephen Levendosky
    • 1
  • Plamen Atanassov
    • 1
  • Julia Fulghum
    • 1
  1. 1.Chemical & Nuclear Engineering DepartmentUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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