Carbon-supported PtFe alloy catalysts are synthesized by the one-step, high-temperature pyrolysis of Pt, Fe, and C precursors. As a result of the high temperature, the formed PtFe nanoparticles possess highly ordered, face-centered tetragonal, intermetallic structures with a mean size of ≈11.8 nm. At 0.9 V versus the reversible hydrogen electrode, the PtFe nanoparticles show a 6.8 times higher specific activity than the reference Pt/C catalyst towards the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) as well as excellent stability, most likely because of the durable intermetallic structure and the preleaching treatment of the catalyst. During these preliminary syntheses, we found that a portion of the PtFe nanoparticles is buried in the in situ formed carbon phase, which limits Pt utilization in the catalyst and results in a mass-specific activity equivalent to the commercial Pt/C catalyst. Moreover, the possible presence of other active sites, for example, FeNx, CNx, and carbon-encapsulated metal nanoparticles, and their contribution to the ORR performance of the catalyst are also investigated.
- Fuel cells