Review Article

Strain-controlled electrocatalysis on multimetallic nanomaterials

  • Nature Reviews Materials 2, Article number: 17059 (2017)
  • doi:10.1038/natrevmats.2017.59
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Abstract

Electrocatalysis is crucial for the development of clean and renewable energy technologies, which may reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Multimetallic nanomaterials serve as state-of-the-art electrocatalysts as a consequence of their unique physico-chemical properties. One method of enhancing the electrocatalytic performance of multimetallic nanomaterials is to tune or control the surface strain of the nanomaterials, and tremendous progress has been made in this area in the past decade. In this Review, we summarize advances in the introduction, tuning and quantification of strain in multimetallic nanocrystals to achieve more efficient energy conversion by electrocatalysis. First, we introduce the concept of strain and its correlation with other key physico-chemical properties. Then, using the electrocatalytic reduction of oxygen as a model reaction, we discuss the underlying mechanisms behind the strain–adsorption–reactivity relationship based on combined classical theories and models. We describe how this knowledge can be harnessed to design multimetallic nanocrystals with optimized strain to increase the efficiency of oxygen reduction. In particular, we highlight the unexpectedly beneficial (and previously overlooked) role of tensile strain from multimetallic nanocrystals in improving electrocatalysis. We conclude by outlining the challenges and offering our perspectives on the research directions in this burgeoning field.

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Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (Grant No. 51671003), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Grant No. 2017M610022), the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFB0100201), the Open Project Foundation of the State Key Laboratory of Chemical Resource Engineering, and start-up support from Peking University and the Young Thousand Talents Program.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, Peking University.

    • Mingchuan Luo
    •  & Shaojun Guo
  2. BIC-ESAT, College of Engineering, Peking University.

    • Shaojun Guo
  3. Department of Energy and Resources Engineering, College of Engineering, Peking University.

    • Shaojun Guo
  4. Key Laboratory of Theory and Technology of Advanced Batteries Materials, College of Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China.

    • Shaojun Guo

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The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shaojun Guo.