(Invited) Electrochemical Atomic Layer Deposition of Ultrathin Electrocatalytic Films

Tuesday, 30 May 2017: 10:20
Grand Salon A - Section 3 (Hilton New Orleans Riverside)
T. P. Moffat, S. H. Ahn (National Institute of Standards and Technology), Y. Liu (LAM Research), U. Bertocci, D. Gokcen, N. L. Ritzert, R. Wang (National Institute of Standards and Technology), and C. Hangarter (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)
Development of a sustainable hydrogen economy based on water electrolysis and fuel cells is constrained by the performance, longevity and high cost of Pt group electrocatalysts. Important strategies for improving catalytic reactivity include alloying, forming bimetallic or alloyed surfaces, and engineering substrate–catalyst interactions. At the same time, significant effort is underway to minimize the loading of Pt group metals by examining new synthesis methods and electrode geometries. Of particular interest is atomic layer deposition (ALD) for growing ultrathin films that maximize utilization of rare, expensive metals and facilitate the exploration of bimetallic effects in electrocatalysis.

Recently, an inexpensive “wet form” of ALD based on self-terminated electrodeposition reactions was uncovered that enables controlled formation of ultrathin films of Pt, Ir and iron group metals and alloys thereof. The mechanism of self-terminated deposition reactions will be discussed and the utility of these films as bimetallic electrocatalysts will be demonstrated. For example, monolayer equivalent Pt and Ir films were found to match or exceed the best known specific HER/HOR activity for bulk polycrystalline Pt or Ir electrodes and thereby offer the promise of increasing the scalability of these important precious metals in energy conversion devices.