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ACS Nano. 2013 Jul 23;7(7):6337-45. doi: 10.1021/nn402385f. Epub 2013 Jun 27.

Site-selective deposition of twinned platinum nanoparticles on TiSi2 nanonets by atomic layer deposition and their oxygen reduction activities.

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Department of Chemistry, Merkert Chemistry Center, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02467, USA.


For many electrochemical reactions such as oxygen reduction, catalysts are of critical importance, as they are often necessary to reduce reaction overpotentials. To fulfill the promises held by catalysts, a well-defined charge transport pathway is indispensable. Presently, porous carbon is most commonly used for this purpose, the application of which has been recently recognized to be a potential source of concern. To meet this challenge, here we present the development of a catalyst system without the need for carbon. Instead, we focused on a conductive, two-dimensional material of a TiSi2 nanonet, which is also of high surface area. As a proof-of-concept, we grew Pt nanoparticles onto TiSi2 by atomic layer deposition. Surprisingly, the growth exhibited a unique selectivity, with Pt deposited only on the top/bottom surfaces of the nanonets at the nanoscale without mask or patterning. Pt {111} surfaces are preferably exposed as a result of a multiple-twinning effect. The materials showed great promise in catalyzing oxygen reduction reactions, which is one of the key challenges in both fuel cells and metal air batteries.

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