High-stability, self-protecting particles encapsulated by a thin film of a catalytically active noble metal are described. The particles are preferably nanoparticles comprising a passivating element having at least one metal selected from the group consisting of columns IVB, VB, VIB, and VIIB of the periodic table. The nanoparticle is preferably encapsulated by a Pt shell and may be either a nanoparticle alloy or a core-shell nanoparticle. The nanoparticle alloys preferably have a core comprised of a passivating component alloyed with at least one other transition metal. The core-shell nanoparticles comprise a core of a non-noble metal surrounded by a shell of a noble metal. The material constituting the core, shell, or both the core and shell may be alloyed with one or more passivating elements. The self-protecting particles are ideal for use in corrosive environments where they exhibit improved stability compared to conventional electrocatalyst particles.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT RIGHTS
 This invention was made with Government support under contract number DE-AC02-98CH10886 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.