Electrochemically Active Nickel Foams as Support Materials for Nanoscopic Platinum Electrocatalysts

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"Electrochemically Active Nickel Foams as Support Materials for Nanoscopic Platinum Electrocatalysts," van Drunen, J.; Pilapil, B.; Makonnen, Y.; Beauchemin, D.; Gates, B.D.; Jerkiewicz, G., ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2014, 6(15), 12046-12061. DOI: 10.1021/am501097t.

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Alkaline water electrolysis
Nickel electrocatalyst
Platinum electocatalyst
Nickel foam
Three-dimensional electrode

Platinum is deposited on open-cell nickel foam in low loading amounts via chemical reduction of Pt cations (specifically, Pt2+ or Pt4+) originating from aqueous Pt salt solutions. The resulting Pt-modified nickel foams (Pt/Ni foams) are characterized using complementary electrochemical and materials analysis techniques. These include electron microscopy to examine the morphology of the deposited material, cyclic voltammetry to evaluate the electrochemical surface area of the deposited Pt, and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry to determine the mass of deposited Pt on the Ni foam substrate. The effect of potential cycling in alkaline media on the electrochemical behavior of the material and the stability of Pt deposit is studied. In the second part of this paper, the Pt/Ni foams are applied as electrode materials for hydrogen evolution, hydrogen reduction, oxygen reduction, and oxygen evolution reactions in an aqueous alkaline electrolyte. The electrocatalytic activity of the electrodes toward these processes is evaluated using linear sweep voltammetry curves and Tafel plots. The results of these studies demonstrate that nickel foams are acceptable support materials for nanoscopic Pt electrocatalysts and that the resulting Pt/Ni foams are excellent electrocatalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction. An unmodified Ni foam is shown to be a highly active electrode for the oxygen evolution reaction.

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