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Research Article

Pt single atoms coupled with Ru nanoclusters enable robust hydrogen oxidation for high-performance anion exchange membrane fuel cells

Jianmei Wang1Bingxing Zhang1Xiaozhong Zheng1Xuerui Liu2,3Wei Guo1Zhouxin Luo1Yongfeng Liu1Mingxia Gao1Jian Chen4Zhongbin Zhuang2,3( )Hongge Pan4Wenping Sun1,5( )
School of Materials Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Soft Matter Science and Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China
State Key Lab of Organic–Inorganic Composites, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China
Institute of Science and Technology for New Energy, Xi’an Technological University, Xi’an 710021, China
State Key Laboratory of Clean Energy Utilization, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
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Graphical Abstract

Isolated Pt single atoms anchored on Ru nanoclusters supported on nitrogen-doped carbon nanosheets (Pt1-Ru/NC), a single atom-cluster multiscale structure, is designed to achieve robust alkaline hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) toward high-performance anion exchange membrane fuel cells. This innovative configuration provides multiple sites for simultaneously achieving preferential adsorption of H* and OH*, ultimately breaking the scaling relationship and resulting in fast hydrogen oxidation kinetics with outstanding durability and CO anti-poisoning ability.


The sluggish reaction kinetics of alkaline hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) is one of the key challenges for anion exchange membrane fuel cells (AEMFCs). To achieve robust alkaline HOR with minimized cost, we developed a single atom-cluster multiscale structure with isolated Pt single atoms anchored on Ru nanoclusters supported on nitrogen-doped carbon nanosheets (Pt1-Ru/NC). The well-defined structure not only provides multiple sites with varied affinity with the intermediates but also enables simultaneous modulation of different sites via interfacial interaction. In addition to weakening Ru–H bond strength, the isolated Pt sites are heavily involved in hydrogen adsorption and synergistically accelerate the Volmer step with the help of Ru sites. Furthermore, this catalyst configuration inhibits the excessive occupancy of oxygen-containing species on Ru sites and facilitates the HOR at elevated potentials. The Pt1-Ru/NC catalyst exhibits superior alkaline HOR performance with extremely high activity and excellent CO-tolerance. An AEMFC with a 0.1 mg·cmPGM−2 loading of Pt1-Ru/NC anode catalyst achieves a peak powder density of 1172 mW·cm−2, which is 2.17 and 1.55 times higher than that of Pt/C and PtRu/C, respectively. This work provides a new catalyst concept to address the sluggish kinetics of electrocatalytic reactions containing multiple intermediates and elemental steps.

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Nano Research
Pages 6147-6156
Cite this article:
Wang J, Zhang B, Zheng X, et al. Pt single atoms coupled with Ru nanoclusters enable robust hydrogen oxidation for high-performance anion exchange membrane fuel cells. Nano Research, 2024, 17(7): 6147-6156.






Web of Science






Received: 28 January 2024
Revised: 29 February 2024
Accepted: 03 March 2024
Published: 23 March 2024
© Tsinghua University Press 2024