SiO2 decoration dramatically enhanced the stability of PtRu electrocatalysts with undetectable deterioration in fuel cell performance
Prevention of Ru dissolution is essential for steady CO tolerance of anodic electrocatalysts in direct methanol fuel cells. Here, we demonstrate a facile way to stabilize Ru atoms by decorating commercial CB/PtRu with SiO2, which shows a six-fold higher stability and similar activity toward a methanol oxidation reaction leading to no discernible degradation in fuel cell performance compared to commercial CB/PtRu electrocatalysts. The higher stability and stable CO tolerance of SiO2-decorated electrocatalysts originate from the SiO2 coating, since Ru atoms are partially ionized during SiO2 decorating, resulting in difficulties in dissolution; while, in the case of commercial CB/PtRu, the dissolved Ru offers active sites for Pt coalescences and CO species resulting in the rapid decay of the electrochemical surface area and fuel cell performance. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study about the stabilization of Ru atoms by SiO2. The highest stability is obtained for a PtRu electrocatalyst with negligible effect on the electrochemical properties.