A simple electrochemical method for conversion of Pt wires to Pt concave icosahedra and nanocubes on carbon paper for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution



In the controlled synthesis of noble metal nanostructures using wet-chemical methods, normally, metal salts/complexes are used as precursors, and surfactants/ ligands are used to tune/stabilize the morphology of nanostructures. Here, we develop a facile electrochemical method to directly convert Pt wires to Pt concave icosahedra and nanocubes on carbon paper through the linear sweep voltammetry in a classic three-electrode electrochemical cell. The Pt wire, carbon paper and Ag/AgCl (3 mol L−1 KCl) are used as the counter, working and reference electrodes, respectively. Impressively, the formed Pt nanostructures exhibit better electrocatalytic activity towards the hydrogen evolution compared to the commercial Pt/C catalyst. This work provides a simple and effective way for direct conversion of Pt wires into well-defined Pt nanocrystals with clean surface. We believe it can also be used for preparation of other metal nanocrystals, such as Au and Pd, from their bulk materials, which could exhibit various promising applications.


湿化学法可控合成贵金属纳米结构通常需要金属盐或金属配合物作为前体, 并利用表面活性剂和配体来调节和稳定纳米结构的形 貌. 本文通过一种简单的电化学方法(线性扫描伏安法), 在三电极体系中直接把铂线转化到碳布表面形成铂二十面体和纳米立方体. 在三 电极体系中, 铂线、碳布和Ag/AgCl(3 mol L−1 KCl)分别作为对电极、工作电极和参比电极. 与商业Pt/C催化剂相比, 制备的铂二十面体和 纳米立方体展现出优越的电催化活性. 该方法简单、有效, 可拓展到其他贵金属纳米结构的合成和应用研究. 如通过这种电化学方法直接 将Au、Pd等块体材料转化成具有各种潜在应用的Au、Pd等纳米结构.


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This work was supported by the Ministry of Education under AcRF Tier 2 (ARC 19/15, No. MOE2014-T2-2-093; MOE2015-T2-2-057; MOE2016-T2-2-103; MOE2017-T2-1-162) and AcRF Tier 1 (2016-T1-001-147; 2016-T1-002-051; 2017-T1-001-150; 2017-T1-002-119), and Nanyang Technological University under Start- Up Grant (M4081296.070.500000) in Singapore. We would like to acknowledge the Facility for Analysis, Characterization, Testing and Simulation, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, for use of their electron microscopy (and/or X-ray) facilities.

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Correspondence to Hua Zhang.

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Zhimin Luo is currently a professor at Institute of Advanced Materials (IAM), Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications. He received his bachelor degree from Fujian Normal University in 2002 and completed his PhD in 2013 under the supervision of Prof. Lianhui Wang. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Hua Zhang’s group in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore from 2013 to 2018. His research interests include the synthesis and applications of advanced catalysts such as two-dimensional metal dichalcogenides and noble metal nanostructures.

Hua Zhang obtained his bachelor and master degrees at Nanjing University in 1992 and 1995, respectively, and completed his PhD with Prof. Zhongfan Liu at Peking University in 1998. As a Postdoctoral Fellow, he joined Prof. Frans C. De Schryver’s group at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) in 1999, and then moved to Prof. Chad A. Mirkin’s group at Northwestern University in 2001. After he worked at NanoInk Inc. (USA) and Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (Singapore), he joined Nanyang Technological University in July 2006. His current research interests focus on the the (crystal-)phase engineering of nanomaterials and controlled epitaxial growth of heterostructures, including the synthesis of ultrathin two-dimensional nanomaterials (e.g. metal nanosheets, graphene, metal dichalcogenides, metal-organic frameworks, covalent organic frameworks, etc.), novel metallic and semiconducting nanomaterials, novel amorphous nanomaterials and their hybrid composites, for various applications such as catalysis, clean energy, (opto-)electronic devices, nano- and biosensors, and water remediation.

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A simple electrochemical method for conversion of Pt wires to Pt concave icosahedra and nanocubes on carbon paper for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution

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Luo, Z., Tan, C., Lai, Z. et al. A simple electrochemical method for conversion of Pt wires to Pt concave icosahedra and nanocubes on carbon paper for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution. Sci. China Mater. 62, 115–121 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40843-018-9315-5

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  • noble metals
  • electrochemical conversion
  • concave nanostructures
  • electrocatalysis
  • hydrogen evolution