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Nitrogen’s role in electrocatalysts

21-Mar-2013

Nitrogen doping of carbon-supported electrocatalysts is known to lead to a performance boost, although the reason why has not been clearly understood.

Using principal component analysis (PCA) of electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) data, scientists from the Colorado School of Mines, Illinois, US, have made a direct observation between spatial relationship between a carbon-supported metal catalyst nanoparticle and surface-adsorbed nitrogen.

The study correlates improved catalyst-support interactions with high substrate nitrogen content in the immediate proximity of stabilised nanoparticles. The insights are applied to a prototype methanol fuel cell, which benefits in terms of performance and long-term stability.

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