Size-Selected Synthesis of PtRu Nano-Catalysts: Reaction and Size Control Mechanism
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A rapid synthesis method for the preparation of PtRu colloids and their subsequent deposition on high surface area carbons is presented. The reaction mechanism is shown to involve the oxidation of the solvent, ethylene glycol, to mainly glycolic acid or, depending on the pH, its anion, glycolate, while the Pt(+IV) and Ru(+III) precursor salts are reduced. Glycolate acts as a stabilizer for the PtRu colloids and the glycolate concentration, and hence the size of the resulting noble metal colloids is controlled via the pH of the synthesis solution. Carbon-supported PtRu catalysts of controlled size can be prepared within the range of 0.7-4 nm. Slow scan X-ray diffraction and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy show the PtRu catalysts to be crystalline. The Ru is partly dissolved in the face-centered cubic Pt lattice, but the catalysts also consist of a separate, hexagonal Ru phase. The PtRu catalysts appear to be of the same composition independent of the catalyst size in the range of 1.2-4 nm. Particular PtRu catalysts prepared in this work display enhanced activities for the CH(3)OH electro-oxidation reaction when compared to two commercial catalysts.
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