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Pt/TiO2/Poly(vinyl sulfonic acid) Layer-by-Layer Films for Methanol Electrocatalytic Oxidation

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One major challenge for the widespread application of direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) is to decrease the amount of platinum used in the electrodes, which has motivated a search for novel electrodes containing platinum nanoparticles. In this study, platinum nanoparticles were electrodeposited on layer-by-layer (LbL) films from TiO2 and poly(vinyl sulfonic) (PVS), by immersing the films into a H2PtCl6 solution and applying a 100 A current during different electrodeposition times. Scanning tunnel microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) images showed increased platinum particle size and electrode roughness for increasing electrodeposition times. The potentiodynamic profile of the electrodes indicated that oxygen-like species in 0.5 mol L−1 H2SO4 were formed at less positive potentials for the smallest platinum particles. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements confirmed the high reactivity for the water dissociation and the large amount of oxygen-like species adsorbed on the smallest platinum nanoparticles. This high oxophilicity of the smallest nanoparticles was responsible for the electrocatalytic activity of Pt-TiO2/PVS systems for methanol electrooxidation, according to the Langmuir-Hinshelwood bifunctional mechanism. Significantly, the approach used here combining platinum electrodeposition and LbL matrices allows one to both control the particle size and optimize methanol electrooxidation, being therefore promising for producing membrane-electrode assemblies of DMFCs.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1166/jnn.2009.1301

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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