In this study, we explore the dimensional aspect of structure-driven surface properties of metal monolayers grown on a graphene/Au template. Here, surface limited redox replacement (SLRR) is used to provide precise layer-by-layer growth of Pt monolayers on graphene. We find that after a few iterations of SLRR, fully wetted 4-5 monolayer Pt films can be grown on graphene. Incorporating graphene at the Pt-Au interface modifies the growth mechanism, charge transfers, equilibrium interatomic distances, and associated strain of the synthesized Pt monolayers. We find that a single layer of sandwiched graphene is able to induce a 3.5% compressive strain on the Pt adlayer grown on it, and as a result, catalytic activity is increased due to a greater areal density of the Pt layers beyond face-centered-cubic close packing. At the same time, the sandwiched graphene does not obstruct vicinity effects of near-surface electron exchange between the substrate Au and adlayers Pt. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) techniques are used to examine charge mediation across the Pt-graphene-Au junction and the local atomic arrangement as a function of the Pt adlayer dimension. Cyclic voltammetry (CV) and the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) are used as probes to examine the electrochemically active area of Pt monolayers and catalyst activity, respectively. Results show that the inserted graphene monolayer results in increased activity for the Pt due to a graphene-induced compressive strain, as well as a higher resistance against loss of the catalytically active Pt surface.
Keywords: X-ray absorption spectroscopy; X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy; catalysis; cyclic voltammetry; graphene; monolayer; oxygen reduction reaction; platinum.
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