Nanoframe Catalysts

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Science  21 Mar 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6177, pp. 1319-1320
DOI: 10.1126/science.1251865

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The catalytic properties of materials depend strongly on their microscopic structure, with the atomic-level chemistry and structure directly influencing the activity and durability of the catalyst. However, these microscopic properties can be difficult to understand and control. Furthermore, most efficient catalysts contain substantial amounts of precious metals, rendering them prohibitively expensive. The search for efficient, inexpensive catalysts has, therefore, been challenging. On page 1339 of this issue, Chen et al. (1) report the synthesis of a new class of electrocatalysts built from platinum-nickel nanocrystals. Their Pt3Ni nanoframes have more than 22 times the catalytic activity of conventional platinum/carbon catalysts at 0.9 V, yet contain about 85% less precious metal.