Research ArticleELECTROCHEMISTRY

Conformation-modulated three-dimensional electrocatalysts for high-performance fuel cell electrodes

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Science Advances  21 Jul 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 30, eabe9083
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe9083

Abstract

Unsupported Pt electrocatalysts demonstrate excellent electrochemical stability when used in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells; however, their extreme thinness and low porosity result in insufficient surface area and high mass transfer resistance. Here, we introduce three-dimensionally (3D) customized, multiscale Pt nanoarchitectures (PtNAs) composed of dense and narrow (for sufficient active sites) and sparse (for improved mass transfer) nanoscale building blocks. The 3D-multiscale PtNA fabricated by ultrahigh-resolution nanotransfer printing exhibited excellent performance (45% enhanced maximum power density) and high durability (only 5% loss of surface area for 5000 cycles) compared to commercial Pt/C. We also theoretically elucidate the relationship between the 3D structures and cell performance using computational fluid dynamics. We expect that the structure-controlled 3D electrocatalysts will introduce a new pathway to design and fabricate high-performance electrocatalysts for fuel cells, as well as various electrochemical devices that require the precision engineering of reaction surfaces and mass transfer.

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