Coarsening platinum electrodes

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Science  26 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6413, pp. 416
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6413.416-b

Platinum (Pt) electrodes can undergo oxidation and reduction that can alter their surface morphology. Deng et al. used atomic force microscopy to follow changes in surface morphology of a smooth Pt foil in sulfuric acid as it was cycled between various oxidizing and reducing potentials. After oxidizing the surface at or above 1.8 volts, mild reduction (∼0.8 volts) created Pt ions in the surface region, which, upon further reduction, deposited Pt nanoparticles and created a rough surface. The formation of nanoparticles depended critically on oxide thickness. Thinner oxides created fewer nucleation sites, which led to fewer, but larger, nanoparticles.

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 140, 13285 (2018).

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