Currently, the catalysts performance for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is limited by two major factors, their price and the scaling relationship, i.e. constant offset, between the binding energy of reactants and reaction intermediates. Here we show that both limitations may be eased by using nanoparticle catalysts composed of a core of earth-abundant Mn and Pt shell of two atomic layers. The unusual atomic-structure of Mn core renders the distribution of coordination numbers and related atomic-level stresses on the Pt shell very broad in comparison to pure Pt particles. This increases the chances of nearby sites on the shell to affect each other's activity such that the dissociative absorption of molecular oxygen is facilitated without correspondingly increasing the binding strength of reaction intermediates, thereby promoting the ORR kinetics. Our findings introduce the concept of structural flexibility of the 3d-metal core and 5d-Pt shell as a strategy for catalysis performance.
- Core-shell nanoparticle
- Oxygen reduction reaction