Catalytic System Based on Sub‑2 nm Pt Particles and Its Extraordinary Activity and Durability for Oxygen Reduction

Carbon-supported Pt nanoparticles are used as catalysts for a variety of reactions including the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) key to proton-exchange membrane fuel cells, but their catalytic performance has long been plagued by detachment and sintering. Here we report the in situ growth of sub-2 nm Pt particles on a commercial carbon support via the galvanic reaction between a Pt­(II) precursor and a uniform film of amorphous Se predeposited on the support. The residual Se could serve as a linker to strongly anchor the Pt nanoparticles to the carbon surface, leading to a catalytic system with extraordinary activity and durability toward ORR. Even after 20 000 cycles of accelerated durability test, the sub-2 nm Pt particles were still dispersed well on the carbon support and maintained a mass activity more than three-times as high as the pristine value of a commercial Pt/C catalyst.