Morphology Controlled Synthesis of Durable TiO2 Support for Nano-Pt Catalyst for Oxygen Reduction Reaction

Monday, 25 May 2015: 15:40
Williford Room A (Hilton Chicago)


Owing to the sluggish kinetics of oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), conventionally, high surface carbon-supported Pt serves as an electrocatalyst. However, carbon corrosion occurs at high potentials and conditions result in agglomeration/sintering of Pt catalyst particles and subsequent decrease in electrochemical surface area (ECSA) and ORR activity. As a result, more stable and non-carbon based catalyst supports are increasingly getting attention. Among the alternative support materials, the transition metal oxides are considered to be emerging candidates for catalyst-support.1 In these, TiO2, being cost-effective and acid stable, is particularly attractive.2  Brewer and Wenger3 reported that the hypo d-electron character of titanium oxide facilitates its interaction with noble metals, like Pt, changing the catalytic activity of the noble metal. Suitability of TiO2 as a catalyst support material has been studied extensively.1,2 Although TiO2shows higher durability in relation to conventional carbon supports, its electronic conductivity is relatively lower, resulting in increased ohmic resistance.

In the present work, TiO2 nanorods with specific length and width are synthesized through physical vapor deposition (PVD) technique using the glancing angle deposition (GLAD). Subsequently, the interconnected Pt nanoparticles are deposited on surface of the TiO2 nanorods for efficient catalytic activity and fine electron connectivity towards the electrode substrate. In addition, the controlled porous catalyst matrix would aid the efficient reactant and product transport. Figure 1 shows the scanning electron microscopy images of TiO2 and Pt-TiO2 on silica wafer substrates. These images show the nanorods of TiO2 are encapsulated by ‘bud’ shaped inter connected Pt particles. As the surface energy of Pt is higher than TiO2 surface,4 Pt does not cover the TiO2surface homogeneously resulted structured morphologies. Generally, the electrochemical reactions are surface reactions, the Pt rich edges are possibly involve the ORR reactions and tiny bottom layers are contribute to the electron connectivity.

To study the electrochemical behavior of the synthesized Pt-TiO2, cyclic voltammetry measurements are performed in aq. perchloric acid (0.1 M) on glassy carbon substrates and by using Pt and Ag/AgCl/Cl- as the counter and reference electrodes, respectively.  The characteristics peaks of H2 adsorption and desorption (Figure 2) indicate the metallic nature of Pt. The preliminary results that obtained from ORR reveal the enhanced activity and the ultra-high stability of Pt-TiO2catalyst.


The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the National Science Foundation (CBET-0748063). 


  1. Y. Wang, D. P. Wilkinson and J. Zhang, Chem. Rev., 111, 12 (2011).
  2. S. Huang, P. Ganesan, S. Park and B. N. Popov, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 131, 39 (2009).
  3. L. Brewer and P. R. Wengert, Metall. Trans., 4, 83 (1973).
  4. C. T. Campbell, Surf. Sci. Rep. 27, 1 (1997).