Developing new synthetic methods for carbon supported catalysts with improved performance is of fundamental importance in advancing proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) technology. Continuous-flow, microfluidic reactions in capillary tube reactors are described, which are capable of synthesizing surfactant-free, ultrafine PtSn alloyed nanoparticles (NPs) on various carbon supports (for example, commercial carbon black particles, carbon nanotubes, and graphene sheets). The PtSn NPs are highly crystalline with sizes smaller than 2 nm, and they are highly dispersed on the carbon supports with high loadings up to 33 wt%. These characteristics make the as-synthesized carbon-supported PtSn NPs more efficient than state of the art commercial Pt/C catalysts applied to the ethanol oxidation reaction (EOR). Significantly enhanced mass catalytic activity (two-times that of Pt/C) and improved stability are obtained.
Keywords: carbon supports; electrocatalysis; ethanol oxidation reactions; microfluidic synthesis; platinum tin alloyed nanoparticles.
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