We present atomic layer deposition (ALD) as a new method for the preparation of highly dispersed Ru-decorated Pt nanoparticles for use as catalyst in direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). The nanoparticles were deposited onto N-doped multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) at 250 °C using trimethyl(methylcyclopentadienyl)platinum MeCpPtMe3, bis(ethylcyclopentadienyl)ruthenium Ru(EtCp)2 and O2 as the precursors. Catalysts with 5, 10 and 20 ALD Ru cycles grown onto the CNT-supported ALD Pt nanoparticles (150 cycles) were prepared and tested towards the electro-oxidation of CO and methanol, using cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry in a three-electrode electrochemical set-up. The catalyst decorated with 5 ALD Ru cycles was of highest activity in both reactions, followed by the ones with 10 and 20 ALD Ru cycles. It is demonstrated that ALD is a promising technique in the field of catalysis as highly dispersed nanoparticles of controlled size and composition can be deposited, with up-scaling prospects.
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 2013, Vol 38, Issue 26, p. 11406-11414