PhD, University of Cape Town, 2018
- Towards Practical Applications of EQCN Experiments to Study Pt Anchor Sites on Carbon Surfaces
Adrian C. Fortuin, Colleen Jackson, Emanuela Carleschi, Bryan P. Doyle, Adam Shnier, Roelof J. Kriek, Sekhar C. Ray, Dave G. Billing, Daniel Wamwangi, Günther G. Scherer, and Pieter B. J. Levecque.
Electrocatalysis, 9(2), 271–278, 2018
This work investigates the viability and outlines the current challenges in electrochemical quartz crystal nanobalance (EQCN) experiments on supported Pt catalysts. EQCN experiments involving Pt supported on 2-D “surface-treated graphite sputtered onto quartz crystal” (Pt/MFG-H) catalysts were compared to standard polycrystalline Pt (Ptpoly), which showed similarities in frequency versus potential trends; however, the Pt/MFG-H catalysts obtained higher frequencies due to the support capacitance. The physical characterizations (XRD and XPS) and electrochemical responses, mainly cyclic voltammetry in acidic media and the ferri/ferrocyanide couple, of the 2-D Pt/MFG-H were compared to the representative 2-D Pt supported on treated highly orientated pyrolytic graphite (Pt/HOPG-H), in order to make assertions on the similarities between the two catalysts. The XRD diffraction patterns and the XPS valence band structure for the treated and untreated MFG (-H and -P, respectively) and HOPG (-H and -P, respectively) demonstrated similarities. Nevertheless, the cyclic voltammograms and peak positions of the ferri/ferrocyanide couple between the treated and untreated MFG and HOPG catalysts were dissimilar. However, EQCN may be used qualitatively between the two different 2-D catalysts since the same trends in electrochemical responses before and after treatment of the MFG and HOPG catalysts were seen. Hence, the EQCN technique can be used in future studies as an alternative method to study degradation mechanisms of Pt and carbon for PEFCs.