The oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is the oldest studied and most challenging of the electrochemical reactions. Due to its sluggish kinetics, ORR became the major contemporary technological hurdle for electrochemists, as it hampers the commercialization of fuel cell (FC) technologies. Downsizing the metal particles to nanoscale introduces unexpected fundamental modifications compared to the corresponding bulk state. To address these fundamental issues, various synthetic routes have been developed in order to provide more versatile carbon-supported low platinum catalysts. Consequently, the approach of using nanocatalysts may overcome the drawbacks encountered in massive materials for energy conversion. This review paper aims at summarizing the recent important advances in carbon-supported metal nanoparticles preparation from colloidal methods (microemulsion, polyol, impregnation, Bromide Anion Exchange…) as cathode material in low temperature FCs. Special attention is devoted to the correlation of the structure of the nanoparticles and their catalytic properties. The influence of the synthesis method on the electrochemical properties of the resulting catalysts is also discussed. Emphasis on analyzing data from theoretical models to address the intrinsic and specific electrocatalytic properties, depending on the synthetic method, is incorporated throughout. The synthesis process-nanomaterials structure-catalytic activity relationships highlighted herein, provide ample new rational, convenient and straightforward strategies and guidelines toward more effective nanomaterials design for energy conversion.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited