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Title: PtCo Cathode Catalyst Morphological and Compositional Changes after PEM Fuel Cell Accelerated Stress Testing

Development of Pt catalysts alloyed with transition metals has led to a new class of state-of-the-art electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction at the cathode of proton exchange membrane fuel cells; however, the durability of Pt-based alloy catalysts is challenged by poor structural and chemical stability. There is a need for better understanding of the morphological and compositional changes that occur to the catalyst under fuel cell operation. In this work, we report in-depth characterization results of a Pt-Co electrocatalyst incorporated in the cathode of membrane electrode assemblies, which were evaluated before and after accelerated stress tests designed specifically to enhance catalyst degradation. Electron microscopy, spectroscopy, and 3D electron tomography analyses of the Pt-Co nanoparticle structures suggest that the small- and intermediate-sized Pt-Co particles, which are typically Pt-rich in the fresh condition, undergo minimal morphological changes, whereas intermediate- and larger-sized Pt-Co nanoparticles that exhibit a porous “spongy” morphology and initially have a higher Co content, transform into hollowed-out shells, which is driven by continuous leaching of Co from the Pt-Co catalysts. We further show how these primary Pt-Co nanoparticle morphologies group toward a lower Co, larger size portion of the size vs. composition distribution, and provide details of their nanoscale morphological features.
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Science (CNMS)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Materials Science & Technology Division
  3. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0013-4651
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396; AC05-00OR22725
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of the Electrochemical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 165; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-4651
The Electrochemical Society
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Fuel Cell Technologies Program (EE-3F); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22). Scientific User Facilities Division; USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), Fuel Cycle Technologies (NE-5)
Country of Publication:
United States
30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; Energy Sciences; Fuel Cell, Durability, PtCo, catalysis
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1460172