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Imaging the electrocatalytic activity of single nanoparticles

Nature Nanotechnology volume 7, pages 668672 (2012) | Download Citation

Abstract

The electrocatalytic properties of nanoparticles depend on their size, shape and composition1,2. These properties are typically probed by measuring the total electrocatalytic reaction current of a large number of nanoparticles, but this approach is time-consuming and can only measure the average catalytic activity of the nanoparticles under study. However, the identification of new catalysts requires the ability to rapidly measure the properties of nanoparticles synthesized under various conditions and, ideally, to measure the electrocatalytic activity of individual nanoparticles. Here, we show that a plasmonic-based electrochemical current-imaging technique3 can simultaneously image and quantify the electrocatalytic reactions of an array of 1.6 × 105 platinum nanoparticles printed on an electrode surface, which could facilitate high-throughput screening of the catalytic activities of nanoparticles. We also show that the approach can be used to image the electrocatalytic reaction current and measure the cyclic voltammograms of single nanoparticles.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (CHE-1105588), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 11121091), the National Basic Research Program of China (no. 2011CB935704) and the Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 20975060). I.D.P. thanks the Ramony Cajal program from the Spanish Government and EU International Reintegration Grant (FP7-PEOPLE-2010-RG-277182) for financial support. The authors thank Zhengtao Deng for his help to obtain TEM images of platinum nanoparticle.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors, Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287, United States

    • Xiaonan Shan
    • , Ismael Díez-Pérez
    • , Peter Wiktor
    • , Lihua Zhang
    • , Wei Wang
    • , Jin Lu
    • , Shaopeng Wang
    •  & Nongjian Tao
  2. School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA

    • Xiaonan Shan
    •  & Nongjian Tao
  3. Department of Physical Chemistry, University of Barcelona & Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), Barcelona 08028, Spain

    • Ismael Díez-Pérez
  4. State Key Laboratory for Mesoscopic Physics, Department of Physics, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China

    • Luojia Wang
    • , Ying Gu
    •  & Qihuang Gong
  5. Department of Chemistry, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

    • Jin Lu
    •  & Jinghong Li

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Contributions

X.N.S. carried out the experiments and analysed the experimental data. I.D.P., P.V., L.Z., W.W., J.L. and J.H.L. helped with sample preparation. S.W. helped with instrumentation. L.J.W., Y.G. and Q.H.G. carried out theoretical simulations. N.J.T. conceived the project. X.N.S. and N.J.T. wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Ying Gu or Jinghong Li or Nongjian Tao.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2012.134

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