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Transport Effects in the Electrooxidation of Methanol Studied on Nanostructured Pt/Glassy Carbon Electrodes

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journal contribution
posted on 02.03.2010, 00:00 by Y. E. Seidel, A. Schneider, Z. Jusys, B. Wickman, B. Kasemo, R. J. Behm
Transport effects in the methanol oxidation reaction (MOR) were investigated using nanostructured Pt/glassy carbon (GC) electrodes and, for comparison, a polycrystalline Pt electrode. The nanostructured Pt/GC electrodes, consisting of a regular array of catalytically active cylindrical Pt nanostructures with 55 ± 10 nm in diameter and different densities supported on a planar GC substrate, were fabricated employing hole-mask colloidal lithography (HCL). The MOR measurements were performed under controlled transport conditions in a thin-layer flow cell interfaced to a differential electrochemical mass spectrometry (DEMS) setup. The measurements reveal a distinct variation in the MOR activity and selectivity (product distribution) with Pt nanostructure density and with electrolyte flow rate, showing an increasing overall activity, reflected by a higher Faradaic reaction current, as well as a pronounced increase of the turnover frequency for CO2 formation and of the CO2 current efficiency with decreasing flow rate and increasing Pt coverage. These findings are discussed in terms of the “desorption−readsorption−reaction” model introduced recently (Seidel et al. Faraday Discuss. 2008, 140, 67). Finally, consequences for applications in direct methanol fuel cells are outlined.