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Electrocatalysts having Platinum Monolayers on Palladium, Palladium Alloy, and Gold Alloy Core-Shell Nanoparticles, and Uses Thereof

Brookhaven National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Platinum is a very good, albeit expensive, electrocatalyst. In order to increase the catalytic activity of an electrocatalyst per mass platinum (the platinum mass activity), nanoparticles of less expensive materials are coated with atomically thin layers of platinum. The nanoparticles have a core-shell structure and include palladium, gold, and their alloys with other transition metals. The platinum-coated composite can be used as an electrocatalyst in place of pure platinum, for example, in fuel cells.


A particle composite includes a nanoparticle having a core at least partially encapsulated by a shell of a different composition, the resulting core-shell nanoparticle at least partially encapsulated by an atomically thin layer of platinum. The atomically thin layer of platinum may be alloyed with other noble metals, such as ruthenium or iridium. The core-shell nanoparticle may include elements from the first, second, and/or third rows of transition metals. Particularly useful composites include platinum-encapsulated palladium, palladium alloys, gold, gold alloys (especially gold-rhenium), and core-shell nanoparticles in which the core is a first-row transition metal while the shell is a noble metal.


High noble-metal mass activity allows for reduced incorporation of expensive materials such as platinum, resulting in lower overall costs for the inventive electrocatalysts.

Applications and Industries

Fuel cell catalysts; oxygen-reduction; heterogeneous catalysis.

More Information

Zhang, et al., “Platinum Monolayer on Nonnoble Metal−Noble Metal Core−Shell Nanoparticle Electrocatalysts for O2 Reduction,” J. Phys. Chem. B, 109, 22701–22704 (2005). DOI: 10.1021/jp055634c

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 7,855,021
Electrocatalysts having platium monolayers on palladium, palladium alloy, and gold alloy core-shell nanoparticles, and uses thereof
The invention relates to platinum-coated particles useful as fuel cell electrocatalysts. The particles are composed of a noble metal or metal alloy core at least partially encapsulated by an atomically thin surface layer of platinum atoms. The invention particularly relates to such particles having a palladium, palladium alloy, gold alloy, or rhenium alloy core encapsulated by an atomic monolayer of platinum. In other embodiments, the invention relates to fuel cells containing these electrocatalysts and methods for generating electrical energy therefrom.
Brookhaven National Laboratory 12/21/2010
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
BSA 05-09PrototypeAvailable04/01/201104/01/2011

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To: Poornima Upadhya<>