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  1. Abstract Among the multi-metallic nanocatalysts, Pt-based alloy nanocrystals (NCs) have demonstrated promising performance in fuel cells and water electrolyzers. Herein, we demonstrate a facile colloidal synthesis of monodisperse trimetallic Pt–Fe–Ni alloy NCs through a co-reduction of metal precursors. The as-synthesized ternary NCs exhibit superior mass and specific activities toward oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), which are ∼2.8 and 5.6 times as high as those of the benchmark Pt/C catalyst, respectively. The ORR activity of the carbon-supported Pt–Fe–Ni nanocatalyst is persistently retained after the durability test. Owing to the incorporation of Fe and Ni atoms into the Pt lattice, the as-prepared trimetallic Pt-alloy electrocatalyst also manifestly enhances the electrochemical activity and durability toward the oxygen evolution reaction with a reduced overpotential when compared with that of the benchmark Pt/C (△ η = 0.20 V, at 10 mA cm −2 ). This synthetic strategy paves the way for improving the reactivity for a broad range of electrocatalytic applications.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 2, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 4, 2023
  3. Despite the well-known tendency for many alloys to undergo ordering transformations, the microscopic mechanism of ordering and its dependence on alloy composition remains largely unknown. Using the example of Pt 85 Fe 15 and Pt 65 Fe 35 alloy nanoparticles (NPs), herein we demonstrate the composition-dependent ordering processes on the single-particle level, where the nanoscale size effect allows for close interplay between surface and bulk in controlling the phase evolution. Using in situ electron microscopy observations, we show that the ordering transformation in Pt 85 Fe 15 NPs during vacuum annealing occurs via the surface nucleation and growth of L1 2 -ordered Pt 3 Fe domains that propagate into the bulk, followed by the self-sacrifice transformation of the surface region of the L1 2 Pt 3 Fe into a Pt skin. By contrast, the ordering in Pt 65 Fe 35 NPs proceeds via an interface mechanism by which the rapid formation of an L1 0 PtFe skin occurs on the NPs and the transformation boundary moves inward along with outward Pt diffusion. Although both the “nucleation and growth” and the “interface” mechanisms result in a core–shell configuration with a thin Pt-rich skin, Pt 85 Fe 15 NPs have an L1more »2 Pt 3 Fe core, whereas Pt 65 Fe 35 NPs are composed of an L1 0 PtFe core. Using atomistic modeling, we identify the composition-dependent vacancy-assisted counterdiffusion of Pt and Fe atoms between the surface and core regions in controlling the ordering transformation pathway. This vacancy-assisted diffusion is further demonstrated by oxygen annealing, for which the selective oxidation of Fe results in a large number of Fe vacancies and thereby greatly accelerates the transformation kinetics.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 5, 2023
  4. Abstract Ceria (CeO 2 ) possesses a distinctive redox property due to a reversible conversion to its nonstoichiometric oxide and has been considered as a promising catalyst in the oxidative coupling of methane. Since a heterogeneously catalytic process usually takes place only on the surface of catalysts, it is reasonably expected that the performance of a catalyst, such as CeO 2 , highly relies on its size- and shape-dependent surface structure. We report our recent progress in achieving exclusive crystal facet-terminated CeO 2 nanocrystals using a shape-controlled synthesis protocol in a one-pot colloidal system. We modified a two-phase solvothermal approach to fabricate cubic and truncated octahedral CeO 2 nanocrystals with a size-control. During the two-phase solvothermal process, we propose that the Ce-precursors transfer from the aqueous layer to the interface of the organic phase, promoted by the capping ligands (as known as phase-transfer catalysts), for the oxidation and nucleation, and subsequently form CeO 2 nanocrystals in the organic layer. As different capping ligands favor binding on diverse crystal facets, tuning the composition of the capping ligand with a precise control could generate nanocrystals that are dominated by a single type of facets with a relatively narrow size distribution.