Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.561, 439-448, 2020
Optimizing metal-support interphase for efficient fuel cell oxygen reduction reaction catalyst
The development of cost-effective and highly-efficient electro-catalysts is essential for the advancement of proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC). We present a novel nitrogen-sulphur co-doped carbon nanotubes-few layer graphenel D-2D hybrid support formed by partially exfoliating multiwall carbon nanotubes (PECNT), to improve interface bonding to catalyst nanoparticles. Detailed Raman spectroscopy and STEM-EDS analyses demonstrate that active sites on the co-doped hybrid support ensure both uniform distribution and improved bonding of the catalyst nanoparticles to the support. Electrochemical studies show that Pt nanoparticles decorated on nitrogen-sulphur co-doped PECNT (Pt/NS-PECNT) have higher electrochemical active surface area and mass activity accompanied by low H2O2 formation and improved positive half-wave potential, as compared to those decorated on co-doped rGO-incorporated PECNT hybrid structure (Pt/NS-(rGO-PECNT)). Fuel cell measurements demonstrate a higher power density for our novel (Pt/NS-PECNT) electro-catalyst when compared to both Pt/NS-(rGO + PECNT), and commercial Pt/C electro-catalyst. We demonstrate in this work that the interconnectivity between Pt-nanoparticles and the dopant or defect sites on the support play a crucial role in enhancing the ORR activity, fuel cell performance, and durability of the catalyst. (C) 2019 Published by Elsevier Inc.