Plasma nitriding induced growth of Pt-nanowire arrays as high performance electrocatalysts for fuel cells
In this work, we demonstrate an innovative approach, combing a novel active screen plasma (ASP) technique with green chemical synthesis, for a direct fabrication of uniform Pt nanowire arrays on large-area supports. The ASP treatment enables in-situ N-doping and surface modification to the support surface, significantly promoting the uniform growth of tiny Pt nuclei which directs the growth of ultrathin single-crystal Pt nanowire (2.5-3 nm in diameter) arrays, forming a three-dimensional (3D) nano-architecture. Pt nanowire arrays in-situ grown on the large-area gas diffusion layer (GDL) (5 cm2) can be directly used as the catalyst electrode in fuel cells. The unique design brings in an extremely thin electrocatalyst layer, facilitating the charge transfer and mass transfer properties, leading to over two times higher power density than the conventional Pt nanoparticle catalyst electrode in real fuel cell environment. Due to the similar challenges faced with other nanostructures and the high availability of ASP for other material surfaces, this work will provide valuable insights and guidance towards the development of other new nano-architectures for various practical applications.