The gas injection line of the latest spherical aberration-corrected environmental transmission electron microscope has been modified for achieving real-time/atomic-scale observations in moisturised gas atmospheres for the first time. The newly developed Wet-TEM system is applied to platinum carbon electrode catalysts to investigate the effect of water molecules on the platinum/carbon interface during deactivation processes such as sintering and corrosion. Dynamic in situ movies obtained in dry and 24% moisturised nitrogen environments visualize the rapid rotation, migration and agglomeration of platinum nanoparticles due to the physical adsorption of water and the hydroxylation of the carbon surface. The origin of the long-interconnected aggregation of platinum nanoparticles was discovered to be a major deactivation process in addition to conventional carbon corrosion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering