3. LbL Catalyst Coatings
Layer-by-Layer Catalyst Coatings for Fuel Cells
This projects aims to establish a versatile route for tethering catalytically active nanoparticles onto surfaces that are relevant for fuel cells. Our initial phase has shown that polyethyleneimine (PEI) stabilized platinum nanoparticles (Pt NPs) can be electrostatically bonded to the charged conducting polymer PEDOT:PSS. This permits a layer-by-layer (LbL) deposition strategy that can grow thin films containing these materials (see green layer in image). Importantly, we have found that the embedded Pt NPs are electrochemically accessible and can catalyze the oxidation of methanol fuel - a requirement for the direct methanol fuel cell. The ability of the LbL deposition technique allows for nanometer length scale tuning of the catalysts layer thickness and hence catalytic activity. Current work is focused on the extension of the deposition strategy to low precious metal content multi-metallic nanoparticles.
See our paper in: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.