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Visualization of Hydrogen Evolution at Individual Platinum Nanoparticles at a Buried Interface

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posted on 29.04.2020, 22:30 by Rui Gao, Martin A. Edwards, Yinghua Qiu, Koushik Barman, Henry S. White
Electrochemical processes occurring at solid/solid and solid/membrane interfaces govern the behavior of a variety of energy storage devices, including electrocatalytic reactions at electrode/membrane interfaces in fuel cells and ion insertion at electrode/electrolyte interfaces in solid-state batteries. Due to the heterogeneity of these systems, interrogation of interfacial activity at nanometer length scales is desired to understand system performance, yet the buried nature of the interfaces makes localized activity inaccessible to conventional electrochemical techniques. Herein, we demonstrate nanoscale electrochemical imaging of hydrogen evolution at individual Pt nanoparticles (PtNPs) positioned at a buried interface using scanning electrochemical cell microscopy (SECCM). Specifically, we image the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) at individual carbon-supported PtNP electrocatalysts covered by a 100 to 800 nm thick layer of the proton exchange membrane Nafion. The rate of hydrogen evolution at PtNP at this buried interface is shown to be a function of Nafion thickness, with the highest activity observed for ∼200 nm thick films.

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