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Title: Tailoring electrocatalytic activity of in situ crafted perovskite oxide nanocrystals via size and dopant control

Perovskite oxides (ABO3) have been widely recognized as a class of promising noble-metal–free electrocatalysts due to their unique compositional flexibility and structural stability. Surprisingly, investigation into their size-dependent electrocatalytic properties, in particular barium titanate (BaTiO3), has been comparatively few and limited in scope. Herein, we report the scrutiny of size- and dopant-dependent oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activities of an array of judiciously designed pristine BaTiO3and doped BaTiO3(i.e., La- and Co-doped) nanoparticles (NPs). Specifically, a robust nanoreactor strategy, based on amphiphilic star-like diblock copolymers, is employed to synthesize a set of hydrophobic polymer-ligated uniform BaTiO3NPs of different sizes (≤20 nm) and controlled compositions. Quite intriguingly, the ORR activities are found to progressively decrease with the increasing size of BaTiO3NPs. Notably, La- and Co-doped BaTiO3NPs display markedly improved ORR performance over the pristine counterpart. This can be attributed to the reduced limiting barrier imposed by the formation of -OOH species during ORR due to enhanced adsorption energy of intermediates and the possibly increased conductivity as a result of change in the electronic states as revealed by our density functional theory–based first-principles calculations. Going beyond BaTiO3NPs, a variety of other ABO3NPs with tunable sizes and compositions may be readily accessible by exploiting our more » amphiphilic star-like diblock copolymer nanoreactor strategy. They could in turn provide a unique platform for both fundamental and practical studies on a suite of physical properties (dielectric, piezoelectric, electrostrictive, catalytic, etc.) contingent upon their dimensions and compositions.

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Authors:
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Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10249816
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume:
118
Issue:
25
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. e2014086118
ISSN:
0027-8424
Publisher:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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