Laser-generated high entropy metallic glass nanoparticles as bifunctional electrocatalysts
High entropy metallic glass nanoparticles (HEMG NPs) are very promising materials for energy conversion due to the wide tuning possibilities of electrochemical potentials offered by their multimetallic character combined with an amorphous structure. Up until now, the generation of these HEMG NPs involved tedious synthesis procedures where the generated particles were only available on highly specialized supports, which limited their widespread use. Hence, more flexible synthetic approaches to obtain colloidal HEMG NPs for applications in energy conversion and storage are highly desirable. We utilized pulsed laser ablation of bulk high entropy alloy targets in acetonitrile to generate colloidal carbon-coated CrCoFeNiMn and CrCoFeNiMnMo HEMG NPs. An in-depth analysis of the structure and elemental distribution of the obtained nanoparticles down to single-particle levels using advanced transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) methods revealed amorphous quinary and senary alloy phases with slight manganese oxide/hydroxide surface segregation, which were stabilized within graphitic shells. Studies on the catalytic activity of the corresponding carbon-HEMG NPs during oxygen evolution and oxygen reduction reactions revealed an elevated activity upon the incorporation of moderate amounts of Mo into the amorphous alloy, probably due to the defect generation by atomic size mismatch. Furthermore, we demonstrate the superiority of these carbon-HEMG NPs over their crystalline analogies and highlight the suitability of these amorphous multi-elemental NPs in electrocatalytic energy conversion. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]
high entropy alloy
oxygen evolution reaction
oxygen reduction reaction
pulsed laser ablation in liquid
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S.-X. L. is grateful for the financial support from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers. Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.