Ordered PdCu-Based Nanoparticles as Bifunctional Oxygen-Reduction and Ethanol-Oxidation Electrocatalysts

The development of superior non-platinum electrocatalysts for enhancing the electrocatalytic activity and stability for the oxygen-reduction reaction (ORR) and liquid fuel oxidation reaction is very important for the commercialization of fuel cells, but still a great challenge. Herein, we demonstrate a new colloidal chemistry technique for making structurally ordered PdCu-based nanoparticles (NPs) with composition control from PdCu to PdCuNi and PtCuCo. Under the dual tuning on the composition and intermetallic phase, the ordered PdCuCo NPs exhibit better activity and much enhanced stability for ORR and ethanol-oxidation reaction (EOR) than those of disordered PdCuM NPs, the commercial Pt/C and Pd/C catalysts. The density functional theory (DFT) calculations reveal that the improved ORR activity on the PdCuM NPs stems from the catalytically active hollow sites arising from the ligand effect and the compressive strain on the Pd surface owing to the smaller atomic size of Cu, Co, and Ni.