In Situ Precise Tuning of Bimetallic Electronic Effect for Boosting Oxygen Reduction Catalysis

Junming Zhang, Weichang Xu, Yuan Liu, Sung Fu Hung, Wei Liu, Zhenhui Lam, Hua Bing Tao, Hongbin Yang, Weizheng Cai, Hai Xiao, Hongyu Chen, Bin Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Tuning intermediate adsorption energy by shifting the d-band center offers a powerful strategy to tailor the reactivity of metal catalysts. Here we report a potential sweep method to grow Pd layer-by-layer on Au with the capability to in situ measure the surface structure through an ethanol oxidation reaction. Spectroscopic characterizations reveal charge-transfer induced valence band restructuring in the Pd overlayer, which shifts the d-band center away from the Fermi level compared to bulk Pd. Precise overlayer control gives the optimal bimetallic surface of two monolayers (ML) Pd on Au, which exhibits more than 370-fold mass activity enhancement in oxygen reduction reaction (at 0.9 V vs. reversible hydrogen electrode) and 40 mV increase in half-wave potential compared to the Pt/C. Tested in a homemade Zn-air battery, the 2-ML-Pd/Au/C exhibits a maximum power density of 296 mW/cm2 and specific activity of 804 mAh/gZn, much higher than Pt/C with the same catalyst loading amount.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7753-7760
Number of pages8
JournalNano letters
Issue number18
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2021


  • bimetallic surface
  • electronic effect
  • in situ
  • layer-by-layer growth
  • oxygen reduction reaction


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