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Journal Article

Bio-inspired Construction of Advanced Fuel Cell Cathode with Pt Anchored in Ordered Hybrid Polymer Matrix


Su,  Dang Sheng
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Xia, Z., Wang, S., Jiang, L., Sun, H., Liu, S., Fu, X., et al. (2015). Bio-inspired Construction of Advanced Fuel Cell Cathode with Pt Anchored in Ordered Hybrid Polymer Matrix. Scientific Reports, 5: 16100. doi:10.1038/srep16100.

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The significant use of platinum for catalyzing the cathodic oxygen reduction reactions (ORRs) has hampered the widespread use of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). The construction of well-defined electrode architecture in nanoscale with enhanced utilization and catalytic performance of Pt might be a promising approach to address such barrier. Inspired by the highly efficient catalytic processes in enzymes with active centers embedded in charge transport pathways, here we demonstrate for the first time a design that allocates platinum nanoparticles (Pt NPs) at the boundaries with dual-functions of conducting both electrons by aid of polypyrrole and protons via Nafion® ionomer within hierarchical nanoarrays. By mimicking enzymes functionally, an impressive ORR activity and stability is achieved. Using this brand new electrode architecture as the cathode and the anode of a PEMFC, a high mass specific power density of 5.23 W mg-1Pt is achieved, with remarkable durability. These improvements are ascribed to not only the electron decoration and the anchoring effects from the Nafion® ionomer decorated PPy substrate to the supported Pt NPs, but also the fast charge and mass transport facilitated by the electron and proton pathways within the electrode architecture.