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Significant research results published by Nature Communications

November 25, 2023
  L M S

Significant progress has been made in the field of catalyst preparation for small-sized, highly sinter-resistant, and multi-component Pt-based intermetallic compound fuel cells, according to joint research.

The research was jointly conducted by the team led by Professor Yang Shengchun from Xi'an Jiaotong University's School of Physics in collaboration with Professor Yao Yonggang from Huazhong University of Science and Technology and Professor Wu Jianbo from Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

They have proposed a new strategy for synthesizing multi-component Pt-based intermetallic compound (IMC) fuel cell catalysts using hydrogenated borophene. The results, known as "hydrogenated borophene enabled synthesis of multielement intermetallic catalysts," were published online on November 16, 2023 in the journal Nature Communications.

The study shows that high loading and 2-4 nanometer-sized Pt-based intermetallic (i-PtM) nanoparticles can significantly enhance catalytic activity and lifespan while reducing the cost and amount of Pt used. Furthermore, high metal loading aids in reducing the thickness of the catalyst layer, accelerating mass transfer, increasing the contact between the metal and Nafion membrane, and improving charge transfer and reaction rate. However, in the actual synthesis process, there is a severe trade-off between the required high temperature for phase transition in i-PtM catalyst preparation and the desired "small size" and "high loading," which becomes a bottleneck for industrial-scale preparation and application of such catalysts.

To address these crucial problems, the research team proposed a new method for synthesizing multi-component Pt intermetallic compounds (IMCs) using hydrogenated borophene (HB). This approach enables the catalyst to have a smaller size, higher loading capacity, and increased stability. This research progress has the potential to revolutionize the synthesis of catalysts for fuel cells, leading to improved efficiency, reduced costs and increased sustainability.