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The oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER) are crucial processes for energy conversion/storage systems, such as fuel cells, metal–air batteries, and water splitting. However, both reactions are severely restricted by their sluggish kinetics, thus requiring highly active, cost-effective, and durable electrocatalysts. Herein, we develop novel bifunctional nanocatalysts through surface nanoengineering of dealloying-driven nanoporous gold (NPG). Pd overlayers were precisely deposited onto the NPG ligament surface by epitaxial layer-by-layer growth. More importantly, the obtained NPG-Pd overlayer nanocatalysts exhibit remarkably enhanced electrocatalytic activities toward both the ORR and OER in alkaline media, benchmarked against a stateof- the-art Pt/C catalyst. The improved electrocatalytic performance is rationalized by the unique three-dimensional nanoarchitecture of NPG, enhanced Pd utilization efficiency from precise control of the Pd overlayers, and change in electronic structure, as revealed by density functional theory calculations.

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Publication history

Received: 26 May 2016
Revised: 02 August 2016
Accepted: 04 August 2016
Published: 26 September 2016
Issue date: December 2016

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© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support by the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2012CB932800), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51371106 and 51222202), and Young Tip-top Talent Support Project (the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the CPC). The Institute of Materials of Ruhr University Bochum (Germany) is acknowledged for the support of SEM and TEM characterization. This work also made use of the resources of the Center of Electron Microscopy of Zhejiang University.

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Email: nanores@tup.tsinghua.edu.cn

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