In situ grown nanoscale platinum on carbon powder as catalyst layer in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Sheng Sui
  • Xiaolong Zhuo
  • Kaihua Su
  • Xianyong Yao
  • Junliang Zhang

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University


An extensive study has been conducted on the proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) with reducing Pt loading. This is commonly achieved by developing methods to increase the utilization of the platinum in the catalyst layer of the electrodes. In this paper, a novel process of the catalyst layers was introduced and investigated. A mixture of carbon powder and Nafion solution was sprayed on the glassy carbon electrode (GCE) to form a thin carbon layer. Then Pt particles were deposited on the surface by reducing hexachloroplatinic (IV) acid hexahydrate with methanoic acid. SEM images showed a continuous Pt gradient profile among the thickness direction of the catalytic layer by the novel method. The Pt nanowires grown are in the size of 3 nm (diameter)×10 nm (length) by high solution TEM image. The novel catalyst layer was characterized by cyclic voltammetry (CV) and scanning electron microscope (SEM) as compared with commercial Pt/C black and Pt catalyst layer obtained from sputtering. The results showed that the platinum nanoparticles deposited on the carbon powder were highly utilized as they directly faced the gas diffusion layer and offered easy access to reactants (oxygen or hydrogen).


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-483
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Energy Chemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Carbon powder layer, Catalyst layer, Platinum, Proton exchange membrane fuel cells