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      Anisotropic phase segregation and migration of Pt in nanocrystals en route to nanoframe catalysts

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          Abstract

          Compositional heterogeneity in shaped, bimetallic nanocrystals offers additional variables to manoeuvre the functionality of the nanocrystal. However, understanding how to manipulate anisotropic elemental distributions in a nanocrystal is a great challenge in reaching higher tiers of nanocatalyst design. Here, we present the evolutionary trajectory of phase segregation in Pt-Ni rhombic dodecahedra. The anisotropic growth of a Pt-rich phase along the 〈111〉 and 〈200〉 directions at the initial growth stage results in Pt segregation to the 14 axes of a rhombic dodecahedron, forming a highly branched, Pt-rich tetradecapod structure embedded in a Ni-rich shell. With longer growth time, the Pt-rich phase selectively migrates outwards through the 14 axes to the 24 edges such that the rhombic dodecahedron becomes a Pt-rich frame enclosing a Ni-rich interior phase. The revealed anisotropic phase segregation and migration mechanism offers a radically different approach to fabrication of nanocatalysts with desired compositional distributions and performance.

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          Improved oxygen reduction activity on Pt3Ni(111) via increased surface site availability.

          The slow rate of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in the polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) is the main limitation for automotive applications. We demonstrated that the Pt3Ni(111) surface is 10-fold more active for the ORR than the corresponding Pt(111) surface and 90-fold more active than the current state-of-the-art Pt/C catalysts for PEMFC. The Pt3Ni(111) surface has an unusual electronic structure (d-band center position) and arrangement of surface atoms in the near-surface region. Under operating conditions relevant to fuel cells, its near-surface layer exhibits a highly structured compositional oscillation in the outermost and third layers, which are Pt-rich, and in the second atomic layer, which is Ni-rich. The weak interaction between the Pt surface atoms and nonreactive oxygenated species increases the number of active sites for O2 adsorption.
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            Highly crystalline multimetallic nanoframes with three-dimensional electrocatalytic surfaces.

            Control of structure at the atomic level can precisely and effectively tune catalytic properties of materials, enabling enhancement in both activity and durability. We synthesized a highly active and durable class of electrocatalysts by exploiting the structural evolution of platinum-nickel (Pt-Ni) bimetallic nanocrystals. The starting material, crystalline PtNi3 polyhedra, transforms in solution by interior erosion into Pt3Ni nanoframes with surfaces that offer three-dimensional molecular accessibility. The edges of the Pt-rich PtNi3 polyhedra are maintained in the final Pt3Ni nanoframes. Both the interior and exterior catalytic surfaces of this open-framework structure are composed of the nanosegregated Pt-skin structure, which exhibits enhanced oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity. The Pt3Ni nanoframe catalysts achieved a factor of 36 enhancement in mass activity and a factor of 22 enhancement in specific activity, respectively, for this reaction (relative to state-of-the-art platinum-carbon catalysts) during prolonged exposure to reaction conditions.
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              Shape-controlled synthesis of metal nanocrystals: simple chemistry meets complex physics?

              Nanocrystals are fundamental to modern science and technology. Mastery over the shape of a nanocrystal enables control of its properties and enhancement of its usefulness for a given application. Our aim is to present a comprehensive review of current research activities that center on the shape-controlled synthesis of metal nanocrystals. We begin with a brief introduction to nucleation and growth within the context of metal nanocrystal synthesis, followed by a discussion of the possible shapes that a metal nanocrystal might take under different conditions. We then focus on a variety of experimental parameters that have been explored to manipulate the nucleation and growth of metal nanocrystals in solution-phase syntheses in an effort to generate specific shapes. We then elaborate on these approaches by selecting examples in which there is already reasonable understanding for the observed shape control or at least the protocols have proven to be reproducible and controllable. Finally, we highlight a number of applications that have been enabled and/or enhanced by the shape-controlled synthesis of metal nanocrystals. We conclude this article with personal perspectives on the directions toward which future research in this field might take.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Nature Materials
                Nature Mater
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1476-1122
                1476-4660
                November 2016
                August 15 2016
                November 2016
                : 15
                : 11
                : 1188-1194
                Article
                10.1038/nmat4724
                27525570
                52fde9ae-a045-4f9c-8431-0743efe5b9ae
                © 2016

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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