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Design of thin-film nanocatalysts for on-chip fuel cell technology

Article CUP & UBD - Catalysis Today

Pt–CeOx thin film catalysts for PEMFC

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Catalysis Today online only, nopp (2014) - read more on Catalysis Today pages

R. Fiala*,†, M. Václavů, A. Rednyk, I. Khalakhan, J. Lavková†,‡, V. Potin, I. Matolínová, V. Matolín

Department of Surface and Plasma Science, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague, V Holešovičkách 2, 180 00 Prague 8, Czech Republic
Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Carnot de Bourgogne, UMR 6303 CNRS, Université de Bourgogne, 9, Avenue Alain Savary, BP 47870, F-21078 Dijon Cedex, France

Platinum is the mostly used element in catalysts for fuel cell technology, but its high price limits large-scale applications. Platinum doped cerium oxide represents an alternative solution due to very low loading, typically few micrograms per 1 cm2, at the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) anode. High efficiency is achieved by using magnetron sputtering deposition of cerium oxide and Pt of 30 nm thick nanoporous films on large surface carbon nanoparticle substrates. Thin film techniques permits to grow the catalyst film characterized by highly dispersed platinum, mostly in ionic Pt2+ state. Such dispersed Pt species show high activity and stability. These new materials may help to substantially reduce the demand for expensive noble-metals in catalytic applications. We measured Pt–CeOx thin film anode catalyst activity in a hydrogen PEMFC and compared it with performance of a standard reference cell. Photoelectron spectroscopy was used to investigate chemical composition of Pt–CeOx induced by the catalyst interaction with hydrogen. Nanostructured character of the catalyst was confirmed by electron microscopy.