1. Development of synthetic methodology for small-sized atomically ordered alloy catalysts.

For catalysis applications, atomically ordered alloys (that is, intermetallic compounds, abbreviated as IMCs) with defined surface and near-surface atomic arrangement affords intriguing geometric and electronic properties that can enhance activity, selectivity, and stability. Although ordered intermetallics are thermodynamically stable relative to disordered solid solutions, but difficult to produce because the high-temperature annealing required for atom ordering inevitably accelerates metal sintering that leads to larger crystallites. We propose to develop synthetic methodologies for small-sized IMCs catalysts based on the thermodynamics and kinetics of the IMCs formation and metal sintering under high temperatures, particularly for fuel cell applications.

2. Design and synthesis of high-performance low-Pt PEMFCs cathode catalysts.

Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are a critical technology of clean energy conversion as the power sources for applications such as fuel cell vehicles. One of the bottlenecks for the commercialization of PEMFCs is the heavy use of scarce Pt at the cathodes for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). We propose to prepare highly active and durable IMCs ORR catalysts and to prepare advanced porous carbon supports for PEMFCs to meet the challenges of the local oxygen transport resistance in the low-Pt cathodes in PEMFCs.