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A bifunctional electrocatalyst of PtNi nanoparticles immobilized on three-dimensional carbon nanofiber mats for efficient and stable water splitting in both acid and basic media
- Chen, Jiawei, Wang, Juan, Chen, Jiadong, Wang, Lina
- Journal of materials science 2017 v.52 no.22 pp. 13064-13077
- carbon nanofibers, carbonization, catalysts, electrodes, electrolytes, hydrogen production, nanoparticles, nickel, oxygen production, platinum, potassium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, synergism
- Inspired by the excellent activity of platinum in hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) and the good performance of Ni-based compounds in oxygen evolution reaction (OER), a bifunctional electrocatalyst PtNi carbon nanofiber (CNF) is designed and fabricated using electrospinning followed by carbonization. Ultra-small PtNi nanoparticles of several nanometers in size are densely dispersed on every CNF, along with a few larger nanoparticles with sizes of several decades of nanometers. The as-prepared catalysts can be directly used as an electrode and act as high-efficiency materials for water splitting, including HER and OER. For HER activity, the PtNi/CNFs reach 10 mA cm⁻² current density at low overpotentials of 34 mV and exhibit a small Tafel slope of 31 mV dec⁻¹ in acidic electrolytes of 0.5 M H₂SO₄, which is close to that of commercial Pt/C (20 wt%) electrocatalytic catalysts. In 1 M KOH solution, the PtNi/CNFs also exhibit excellent HER activity with a low overpotential of 82 mV to achieve a current density of 10 mA cm⁻² and a small Tafel slope of 34 mV dec⁻¹. Moreover, the PtNi/CNFs also show good activity for OER in alkaline electrolyte of 1 M KOH with a Tafel slope of 159 mV dec⁻¹ and a small overpotential of 151 mV to reach a current density of 10 mA cm⁻². In addition, the OER performance of the PtNi/CNFs in acid media is also favorable, with a 198 mV dec⁻¹ Tafel slope. The decent activity of the PtNi/CNFs for water splitting originates from the synergistic effects of using Pt and Ni, large amounts of ultra-small nanoparticles densely dispersed on the CNFs, high conductivity of the support materials and interconnected three-dimensional structures of the carbon nanofiber mats.