The development of efficient and reliable energy conversion devices depends on the design of more active and highly stable catalysts. Given that the current control over catalytic activity is more advanced than our understanding of the stability of surface atoms, it is paramount to establish functional links between activity/stability to enable synthesis of new materials with tailored properties. The recent development of in situ tools that combine surface electrochemistry to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS), opened the possibility of establishing structure/stability relationships on Pt single crystal surfaces, demonstrating that metal dissolution is influenced by the coordination of the surface atoms, composition of the electrical double-layer and electrolyte, and the type of electrochemical reaction. However, there are few studies on how the electrocatalysis of the oxidation of small organic molecules has an impact on the electrode stability. The group of Dr. Nenad Markovic from Argonne National Laboratory has been dedicated to understanding the functional links between structure and activity for many electrocatalytic reactions, recently expanding into establishing the structure-stability relationships. In order to investigate the dissolution of metals from electrodes during the oxidation of organic molecules, it is proposed to evaluate: i) the effect electrolyte composition (H2SO4 and HClO4); ii) combined with the type of surface, i.e., Pt(hkl), and to the nature of metal (Au, Pt, Ir, and Ru) for a fixed orientation; iii) with the type of molecule to be oxidized (CO, HCOOH, CH3OH and CH3OCH3); and finally, iv) how steady state or spontaneous oscillatory conditions further contribute to activity/stability trends.
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