Synthesis of Platinum-nickel Nanowires and Optimization for Oxygen Reduction Performance

This article has been accepted and is currently in production

Abstract

Platinum-nickel (Pt-Ni) nanowires were developed as fuel cell electrocatalysts, and were optimized for the performance and durability in the oxygen reduction reaction. Spontaneous galvanic displacement was used to deposit Pt layers onto Ni nanowire substrates. The synthesis approach produced catalysts with high specific activities and high Pt surface areas. Hydrogen annealing improved Pt and Ni mixing and specific activity. Acid leaching was used to preferentially remove Ni near the nanowire surface, and oxygen annealing was used to stabilize near-surface Ni, improving durability and minimizing Ni dissolution. These protocols detail the optimization of each post-synthesis processing step, including hydrogen annealing to 250 °C, exposure to 0.1 M nitric acid, and oxygen annealing to 175 °C. Through these steps, Pt-Ni nanowires produced increased activities more than an order of magnitude than Pt nanoparticles, while offering significant durability improvements. The presented protocols are based on Pt-Ni systems in the development of fuel cell catalysts. These techniques have also been used for a variety of metal combinations, and can be applied to develop catalysts for a number of electrochemical processes.