Enhancement of Pt and Pt-alloy fuel cell catalyst activity and durability via nitrogen-modified carbon supports
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Insufficient catalytic activity and durability are key barriers to the commercial deployment of low temperature polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) and direct-methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). Recent observations suggest that carbon-based catalyst support materials can be systematically doped with nitrogen to create strong, beneficial catalyst-support interactions which substantially enhance catalyst activity and stability. Data suggest that nitrogen functional groups introduced into a carbon support appear to influence at least three aspects of the catalyst/support system: 1) modified nucleation and growth kinetics during catalyst nanoparticle deposition, which results in smaller catalyst particle size and increased catalyst particle dispersion, 2) increased support/catalyst chemical binding (or "tethering"), which results in enhanced durability, and 3) catalyst nanoparticle electronic structure modification, which enhances intrinsic catalytic activity. This review highlights recent studies that provide broad-based evidence for these nitrogen-modification effects as well as insights into the underlying fundamental mechanisms. © 2010 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
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