UHV, electrochemical NMR, and electrochemical studies of platinum/ruthenium fuel cell catalysts

C. Lu, C. Rice, R. I. Masel, P. K. Babu, P. Waszczuk, H. S. Kim, E. Oldfield, A. Wieckowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is well-known that platinum/ruthenium fuel cell catalysts show enhanced CO tolerance compared to pure platinum electrodes, but the reasons are still being debated. We have combined cyclic voltammetry (CV), temperature programmed desorption (TPD), electrochemical nuclear magnetic resonance, and radio active labeling to probe the origin of the ruthenium enhancement in Pt electrodes modified through Ru deposition. The results prove that the addition of ruthenium not only modifies the electronic structure of all the platinum atoms but also leads to the creation of a new form of adsorbed CO. This new form of CO may be ascribed to CO chemisorbed onto the "Ru" region of the electrode surface. TPD and CV results show that the binding of hydrogen is substantially modified due to the presence of Ru. Surprisingly though, TPD indicates that the binding energy of CO on platinum is only weakly affected. Therefore, the changes in the bond energy of CO due to the ligand effect only play a small role in enhancing CO tolerance. Instead, we find that the main effect of ruthenium is to activate water to form OH. Quantitative estimates based on the TPD data indicate that the bifunctional mechanism is about four times larger than the ligand effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9581-9589
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 19 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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