[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have employed Identical Location Transmission Electron Microscopy (IL-TEM) to study changes in the shape and morphology of faceted Pt nanoparticles as a result of the electrochemical cycling; a procedure typically employed for activating platinum surfaces. We find that the shape and morphology of the as-prepared hexagonal nanoparticles are rapidly degraded as a result of potential cycling up to +1.3V. As few as 25 potential cycles are sufficient to cause significant degradation, and after about 500-1,000 cycles the particles are dramatically degraded. We also see clear evidence of particle migration during potential cycling. These finding suggest that great care must be exercised in the use and study of shaped Pt nanoparticles (and related systems) as electrocatlysts, especially for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) where high positive potentials are typically employed.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 11/2015; DOI:10.1021/jacs.5b09553 · 12.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multimetallic shape-controlled nanoparticles offer great opportunities to tune the activity, selectivity and stability of electrocatalytic surface reactions. However, in many cases, our synthetic control over particle size, composition and shape is limited requiring trial and error. Deeper atomic-scale insight in the particle formation process would enable more rational syntheses. Here we exemplify this using a family of trimetallic PtNiCo nanooctahedra obtained via a low-temperature, surfactant-free solvothermal synthesis. We analyze the competition between Ni and Co precursors under co-reduction "one-step" conditions when the Ni reduction rates prevailed. To tune the Co reduction rate and final content we develop a "two-step" route and track the evolution of the composition and morphology of the particles at the atomic scale. To achieve this, scanning transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray elemental mapping techniques are used. We provide evidence of a heterogeneous element distribution caused by element-specific anisotropic growth and create octahedral nanoparticles with tailored atomic composition like Pt1.5M, PtM and PtM1.5 (M=Ni+Co). These trimetallic electrocatalysts have been tested toward the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), showing a greatly enhanced mass activity related to commercial Pt/C and less activity loss than binary PtNi and PtCo after 4000 potential cycles.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The influence of the electrolyte pH in the formic acid oxidation reaction on a polyoriented Pt electrode in the presence of different anions, including sulfate, perchlorate, phosphate and chloride, in different concentrations has been investigated, using cyclic voltammetric measurements. The curves of the peak currents in the negative scan direction vs. the pH in pure sulfate and perchlorate solutions are very similar. For these solutions, the maximum oxidation currents increase steadily with increasing pH up to pH % 5, followed by a plateau until pH 10. This suggests that the reaction proceeds via a similar reaction mechanism, in which the concentration of HCOO À anions in solution plays a key role. For phosphate or chloride containing solutions, in contrast, the maximum oxidation currents show a bell-shaped pH-oxidation current correlation, whose exact shape depends on the anion concentration. We suggest that in these cases the pH-current relation is modified by competing specific adsorption of anions which act as site blocking spectator species. These results will be discussed in relation with compatible mechanistic proposals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The direct CO2 electrochemical reduction on model platinum single crystal electrodes Pt(hkl) is studied in [C2mim+][NTf2-], a suitable room temperature ionic liquid (RTIL) medium due to its moderate viscosity, high CO2 solubility and conductivity. Single crystal electrodes represent the most convenient type of surface structured electrodes for studying the impact of RTIL ions adsorption in relevant electrocatalytic reactions, such as surface sensitive electrochemical CO2 reduction. We propose here based on cyclic voltammetry and in-situ electrolysis measurements, for the first time, the formation of a stable adduct [C2mimH-CO2-] by a radical-radical coupling after the simultaneous reduction of CO2 and [C2mim+]. It means between the CO2 radical anion and the radical formed from the reduction of the cation [C2mim+] before forming the corresponding electrogenerated carbene. This is confirmed by the voltammetric study of a model imidazolium-2- carboxylate compound formed following the carbene pathway. The formation of that stable adduct [C2mimH-CO2-] blocks CO2 reduction after a single electron transfer and inhibits CO2 and imidazolium dimerization reactions. However, the electrochemical reduction of CO2 under those conditions provokes the electrochemical cathodic degradation of the imidazolium based RTIL. This important limitation in CO2 recycling by direct electrochemical reduction is overcome by adding a strong acid, [H+][NTf2-], in solution. Then, protons become preferentially adsorbed on the electrode surface by displacing the imidazolium cations and inhibiting their electrochemical reduction. This fact allows the surface sensitive electro-synthesis of HCOOH from CO2 reduction in [C2mim+][NTf2-], being Pt(110) the most active electrode studied.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The monodentate associative chemisorption of molecular oxygen on unclustered graphitic-nitrogen-doped graphene requires two nitrogen dopants per activated molecule. Significant charge transfers from regions corresponding to distant nitrogen-dopants, the presence of a nitrogen-dopant adjacent to the carbon atom acting as an active site, which favours its transition from a sp2 hybridization state to sp3, and the solvation effect turn the investigated mechanism to a favourable process. This journal is
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The determination of the potentials of zero total and free charge, pztc and pzfc respectively, were made in a wide pH range by using the CO displacement method and the same calculation assumptions used previously for Pt(1 1 1) electrodes in contact with non-specifically adsorbing anions. Calculation of the pzfc involves, in occasions, long extrapolations that lead us to the introduction of the concept of potential of zero extrapolated charge (pzec). It was observed that the pztc changes with pH but the pzec is independent of this parameter. It was observed that the pztc > pzec at pH > 3.4 but the opposite is true for pH > 3.4. At the latter pH both pzec and pztc coincide. This defines two different pH regions and means that adsorbed hydrogen has to be corrected in the “acidic” solutions at the pztc while adsorbed OH is the species to be corrected in the “alkaline” range. The comparison of the overall picture suggests that neutral conditions at the interface are attained at significantly acidic solutions than those at the bulk.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A temperature dependent study on the formic acid oxidation reaction has been carried out in order to determine the activation energy of this reaction on different platinum single crystal electrodes, namely Pt(1 0 0), Pt(1 1 1), Pt(5 5 4) and Pt(5 4 4) surfaces. The chronoamperometric transients obtained with pulsed voltammetry have been analyzed to determine the current densities through the active intermediate and the CO formation rate. From the temperature dependency of those parameters, the activation energy for the direct reaction and the CO formation step have been calculated. For the active intermediate path, the activation energy are in the range of 50–60 kJ/mol. On the other hand, a large dependence on the electrode potential is found for the activation energy of the CO formation reaction on the Pt(1 0 0) electrode, and the activation energy values for this process range between 20 and 100 kJ/mol. These results have been explained using a reaction mechanism in which the oxidation of formic acid requires the presence of a pre-adsorbed anion on the electrode surface.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The borohydride oxidation reaction on platinum single-crystal electrodes has been studied in sodium hydroxide solution using static and rotating conditions. The results show that borohydride electro-oxidation is a structure sensitive process on Pt surfaces. Significant changes in the measured currents are observed at low potentials. In this region, the Pt(111) electrode exhibits the lowest activity, whereas the highest currents are measured for the Pt(110) electrode. The behavior of the different electrodes is discussed taking as reference the observed behavior on the blank electrolyte and the possible formation of weakly adsorbed intermediates.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A collection of shape-controlled Pt nanoparticles has been prepared using two different and previously described methodologies, both using oleylamine/oleic acid as capping material/solvent. A new decontamination protocol is presented to effectively clean the surface of the different nanoparticles thus allowing a full exposure of their surface area and consequently to make the most of their surface structure dependent reactivity. Subsequently, the clean shape-controlled Pt nanoparticles have been electrochemically characterized and their electrocatalytic properties evaluated towards some surface structure reactions of interest. The results indicate that the full characterization of the surface structure cannot be done exclusively by the available microscopy techniques, since it is very difficult to determine the presence of surface defects. Additional surface characterization probes, such as those provided by electrochemical surface sensitive reactions, have been used to assess the surface structure of the samples.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kinetic glycolic acid (GA) oxidation and thermodynamic glycolate adsorption have been studied on Pt single
crystal electrodes. The voltammetric profiles of Pt(111), Pt(100), and Pt(110) in 0.1 M GA are shown, and the effect of the inclusion of steps on the Pt(111) surface has been studied by cyclic voltammetry. For Pt(111) electrode, different concentrations and sweep rates have been applied, revealing that both adsorption and oxidation processes take place. By establishing the appropriate conditions, a complete thermodynamic
analysis has been performed by using the electrode potential and the charge as independent variables. Total charge density curves, surface pressure at total charge density and at constant electrode potential were determined to calculate the Gibbs excess and the charge number at constant electrode potential for glycolate adsorption on Pt(111). Maximum glycolate coverage on the surface reaches a value of ∼6.0× 1014 ions/cm2. Spectroscopic results show the formation of CO2 during the oxidation of glycolic acid, indicating that the cleavage of the C–C bond occurs during the oxidation process.
Journal of Solid State Electrochemistry 01/2015; 19:13-21. DOI:10.1007/s10008-014-2646-1 · 2.45 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report, for the first time, the electrochemical behavior of thallium irreversibly adsorbed on Pt (111) and platinum stepped surfaces composed of (111) terraces and monoatomic steps. Similar to the case of thallium UPD, the voltammograms obtained after thallium irreversible adsorption present three characteristic features. After a careful analysis of the effect of the thallium concentration, the concentration and nature of the anion of the supporting electrolyte and the pH of the solution on these voltammetric features, we have been able to ascribe these processes to Tl/Tl+ oxidation and anion adsorption on the Tl-modified surface. In addition, the results obtained with stepped surfaces, indicate that some of the features are clearly associated to the presence of (111) surface domains, and thus they could be used for the quantification of these sites.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The engineered search for new catalysts requires a deep knowledge about reaction mechanisms. Here, with the support of a combination of computational and experimental results, the oxidation mechanism of formic acid on Pt(111) electrodes modified by adatoms of the p block is elucidated for the first time. DFT calculations reveal that some adatoms, such as Bi and Pb, have positive partial charge when they are adsorbed on the bare surface, whereas others, such as Se and S, remain virtually neutral. When the partial charge is correlated with previously reported experimental results for the formic acid oxidation reaction, it is found that the partial positive charge is directly related to the increase in catalytic activity of the modified surface. Further, it is obtained that such a positive partial charge is directly proportional to the electronegativity difference between the adatom and Pt. Thus, the electronegativity difference can be used as an effective descriptor for the expected electrocatalytic activity. This partial positive charge on the adatom drives the formic acid oxidation reaction, since it favors the formation and adsorption of formate on the adatom. Once adsorbed, the neighboring platinum atoms assist in the C-H bond cleavage. Finally, it is found that most of the steps involved in the proposed oxidation mechanism are barrierless, which implies a significant diminution of the activation barriers in comparison to that of the unmodified Pt(111) electrode. This diminution in the activation barrier has been experimentally corroborated for the Bi-Pt(111) electrode, supporting the proposed mechanism.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effects of solution pH and anion adsorption for the formic acid oxidation reaction on the Pt(111) electrode have been examined using electrochemical techniques. Regarding the pH effects, it has been found that oxidation currents for this reaction increase with pH, which indicates that solution formate is involved in the reaction mechanism. Unexpectedly, the adsorption of sulfate on the Pt(111) electrode has a positive effect on the oxidation of formic acid, which also suggests that adsorbed anions are also involved in the mechanism. The activation energy calculated from temperature dependent measurements diminishes with the solution pH and also in the presence of adsorbed sulfate. These measurements corroborate the involvement of solution formate and anions in the oxidation mechanism. Using these results, a rate equation for the oxidation of formic acid is proposed. The current values calculated from this equation are in very good agreement with the experimental currents in perchloric acid solutions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to improve catalytic processes, elucidation of reac-tion mechanisms is essential. Here, supported by a combina-tion of experimental and computational results, the oxida-tion mechanism of formic acid on Pt(111) electrodes modified by the incorporation of bismuth adatoms is revealed. In the proposed model, formic acid is first physorbed, on bismuth, and then deprotonated and chemisorbed, also on bismuth, in formate form. From this configuration the C-H bond is cleaved, on a neighbor Pt site, yielding CO2. It was computa-tionally found that the activation energy for the C-H bond cleavage step is negligible, which was also verified experi-mentally.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 09/2014; 136(38). DOI:10.1021/ja505943h · 12.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ethylene glycol (EG) oxidation has been studied on Pt(111) and its vicinal surfaces in acidic media by cyclic voltammetry and infrared spectroscopy. Even at Pt(111) the C
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ethanol oxidation in 0.1 M NaOH on single-crystal electrodes has been studied using electrochemical and FTIR techniques. The results show that the activity order is the opposite of that found in acidic solutions. The Pt(111) electrode displays the highest currents and also the highest onset potential of all the electrodes. The onset potential for the oxidation of ethanol is linked to the adsorption of OH on the electrode surface. However, small (or even negligible) amounts of COads and carbonate are detected by FTIR, which implies that cleavage of the CC bond is not favored in this medium. The activity of the electrodes diminishes quickly upon cycling. The diminution of the activity is proportional to the measured currents and is linked to the formation and polymerization of acetaldehyde, which adsorbs onto the electrode surface and prevents further oxidation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oxygen reduction reaction ORR is the main cathodic problem in electrochemistry and has a deep influence in the development of technologically relevant applications such as fuel cells. It is a complex reaction involving a nonpolar molecule with double bond breaking, 4 electron transfer and 4 O-H bond formation in different scenarios. In the reaction mechanism a possible important role can be played by intermediate peroxo species, after the exchange of only 2 electrons. To enhance reactivity, the understanding of the reaction mechanism at the Pt surfaces is necessary. Models can be used to simplify the complex reaction and from the experimental point of view such models are related to the use of single crystal surfaces with well defined orientations. For Pt(111) electrodes, the activation region is quite narrow despite the high overpotential and the process readily becomes transport controlled. Moreover, in the activation region the platinum electrode is covered by oxygenated species and it is well known the influence that these species can play in the electrode surface order, the surface stability being dependent a structure sensitive process. Possible influence of the surface oxygen-containing species, particularly as intermediates in the ORR is not clearly understood and only has been addressed at Pt(111), which likely is the most stable surface upon oxidation . On the other hand the ORR is structure sensitive, the Pt(111) being the most active in alkaline media  in contrast to that observed in acidic solution in which Pt(110) and Pt(hkl) surfaces with small two-dimensional domains are able to reduce oxygen at lower potentials. It is obvious that surface effects play an important role in the activation region as deduced from the marked anion effect that should be less important in alkaline solutions due to the shift in the surface charge on the metal. Another aspect that should be considered is the reactivity of hydrogen peroxide at these platinum surfaces, because its possible role as reaction intermediate . In this respect if the ORR necessarily took place through the peroxo intermediate, a possible strategy would be based in the inhibition of peroxide oxidation while keeping constant ORR.
Financial support from MICINN (Spain) through project CTQ2010-16271 and Generalitat Valenciana (PROMETEO/2009/045, FEDER) are greatly acknowledged.
1. Rizo R, Herrero E, Feliu JM (2013) Phys Chem Chem Phys 15:15416-15425
2. Gomez-Marin AM, Feliu JM (2013) Chemsuschem 6:1091-1100
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DFT studies on platinum stepped surfaces have been carried out in order to understand the differences in the electrochemical behavior between the surfaces with (111) and (100) terraces. Thus, adsorption energies of different species on selected surfaces have been computed. For the adsorption of Bi and Cu on the Pt(553) and Pt(711) surfaces, it has been found that the adsorption energy on the site corresponding to the step decoration for the Pt(553) surface is ca. 0.5 eV higher than that calculated on the (111) terrace sites. On the other hand, there is no preferential adsorption site for Cu or Bi on the Pt(711) surface, since the energy differences between the different sites on this stepped surface with (100) terraces are very small. CO and OH adsorption on the surfaces with (100) terraces, namely the Pt(100), the Pt(711) and the Pt(510) surfaces, has been also investigated. The energy differences between step sites and terrace sites for the surfaces are very small, ca. 0.2 eV for OH adsorption and <0.1 eV for CO adsorption. For OH, the preferred adsorption mode is a bridge mode, whereas the adsorption energy for the on top and bridge configurations of CO are similar on those surfaces. The comparison with previous DFT calculations indicates that the perturbation created by the step on the (100) terrace is significantly smaller than that created on the (111) terraces. Thus, the modification of the electrochemical properties produced by the presence of a step in the (100) terrace is minor, in agreement with the experimental results.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thallium modified shape-controlled Pt nanoparticles were prepared and their electrocatalytic activity towards formic acid electrooxidation was evaluated in 0.5 M sulfuric acid. The electrochemical and in situ FTIR spectroscopic results show a remarkable improvement in the electrocatalytic activity, especially in the low potential region (around 0.1-0.2 V vs. RHE). Cubic Pt nanoparticles modified with Tl were found to be more active than the octahedral Pt ones in the entire range of Tl coverages and potential windows. In situ FTIR spectra indicate that the promotional effect produced by Tl results in the inhibition of the poisoning step leading to COads, thus improving the onset potential for the complete formic acid oxidation to CO2. Chronoamperometric experiments were also performed at 0.2 V to evaluate the stability of the electrocatalysts at constant potential. Finally, experiments with different concentrations of formic acid (0.05-1 M) were also carried out. In all cases, Tl-modified cubic Pt nanoparticles result to be the most active. All these facts reinforce the importance of controlling the surface structure of the electrocatalysts to optimize their electrocatalytic properties.