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United States Patent Application

View the Complete Application at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Provided are electrocatalysts, fuel cells, methods of making fuel cells, and methods of generating an electric current, each featuring a platinum (Pt)-containing substrate in contact with an aqueous solution comprising Pb.sup.2+. Electrocatalysts of the invention are formed via underpotential deposition (UPD) when a trace amount of Pb.sup.2+ is present in the electrolyte of a half anodic cell for oxidizing formic acid using Pt as the anode. Surprisingly, the UPD process dramatically enhances the activity of formic acid oxidation, at least as much as 10-fold compared with palladium (Pd) black. In an embodiment, the electrocatalyst comprises a Pt-containing substrate, a submonolayer of lead (Pb) adsorbed onto the Pt-containing substrate, and an aqueous solution comprising Pb.sup.2+, wherein the concentration of Pb.sup.2+ in the aqueous solution is 10 to 500 .mu.m.
Tong, YuYe J. (Gaithersburg, MD), Chen, Dejun (Arlington, VA)
14/ 739,063
June 15, 2015
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT [0002] The invention was made with government support under grant number DE-FG02-07ER15895 awarded by the Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.