To address how the chemical and structural heterogeneity of Pt50Ru50 nanoparticles affects methanol oxidation activity, we have employed an arsenal of transmission electron microscopy techniques (conventional bright field-imaging, selected area diffraction, atomic-resolution lattice imaging, electron-energy loss spectroscopy, and energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy) to characterize 2.5-nm particles in differing oxidation and hydration states. Our studies demonstrate that electrocatalysts containing a high fraction of Ru-rich hydrous oxide, as apposed to the anhydrous PtRu bimetallic alloy, have as much as 250x higher methanol oxidation activity
The nominally 2.5-nm Pt50Ru50 particles were studied in as-received, reduced and reoxidized forms. The reducing treatment consisted of 2 h at 100 °C in flowing 10% PL/argon mixture. For re-oxidation, the reduced particles were heated for 20 h at 100 °C in an H2O-saturated oxygen atmosphere. The particles were suspended in methanol, and pipetted onto holey-carboncoated Cu grids for TEM studies.