Composition-Tuned Pt-Skinned PtNi Bimetallic Clusters as Highly Efficient Methanol Dehydrogenation Catalysts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


  • Ting Wei Liao
  • Anupam Yadav
  • Piero Ferrari
  • Yubiao Niu
  • Xian Kui Wei
  • Jerome Vernieres
  • Kuo Juei Hu
  • Marc Heggen
  • Rafal E. Dunin-Borkowski
  • Richard E. Palmer
  • Kari Laasonen
  • Didier Grandjean
  • Ewald Janssens
  • Peter Lievens

Research units

  • KU Leuven
  • Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
  • Swansea University
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich


Platinum is the most active anode and cathode catalyst in next-generation fuel cells using methanol as liquid source of hydrogen. Its catalytic activity can be significantly improved by alloying with 3d metals, although a precise tuning of its surface architecture is still required. Herein, we report the design of a highly active low-temperature (below 0 °C) methanol dehydrogenation anode catalyst with reduced CO poisoning based on ultralow amount of precisely defined PtxNi1-x (x = 0 to 1) bimetallic clusters (BCs) deposited on inert flat oxides by cluster beam deposition. These BCs feature clear composition-dependent atomic arrangements and electronic structures stemming from their nucleation mechanism, which are responsible for a volcano-type activity trend peaking at the Pt0.7Ni0.3 composition. Our calculations reveal that at this composition, a cluster skin of Pt atoms with d-band centers downshifted by subsurface Ni atoms weakens the CO interaction that in turn triggers a significant increase in the methanol dehydrogenation activity.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10040-10048
JournalChemistry of Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

ID: 39975188