Investigation of Pt, Pt3 Co, and Pt3 Co/Mo cathodes for the ORR in a microfluidic H2 / O2 fuel cell

Fikile R. Brushett, Hung T. Duong, Jia Wei Desmond Ng, Rachel L. Behrens, Andrzej Wieckowski, Paul J.A. Kenis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report on the performance and durability of four Pt-based cathode catalysts in a microfluidic H2 / O2 fuel cell: commercial unsupported Pt and Pt3 Co as well as in-house acid-treated Pt 3 Co (Pt3 Co -at) and Pt3 Co/Mo. Commercial Pt3 Co was used as the starting material for both Pt3 Co -at and Pt3 Co/Mo. The composition of the resulting catalysts was confirmed via X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis. In situ cathode studies were performed using an acidic microfluidic H2 / O2 fuel cell with an analytical platform. The electrolyte flow rate was optimized to minimize the effects of water management such that fuel cell performance is kinetically limited by the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). In addition, electrolyte concentration was separately varied to determine cathode performance as a function of acidic pH. All four catalysts demonstrated good short-term activity and stability under fuel cell operating conditions in harsh acidic environments, with the Pt3 Co/Mo alloy exhibiting the highest activity. Furthermore, both modified catalysts, Pt3 Co/Mo and Pt 3 Co -at, exhibited superior durability compared to commercially available Pt3 Co and Pt in the accelerated cathode aging studies performed within the microfluidic fuel cell via potential cycling. In situ impedance analysis of the Pt3 Co/Mo cathode revealed enhanced catalyst stability and electrode durability as the cause of the dramatic improvements in long-term performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)B837-B845
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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