Tetrahexahedral Pt nanocrystals (THH Pt NCs) bound by well-defined high index crystal planes offer exceptional electrocatalytic activity, owing to a high density of low-coordination surface Pt sites. We report, herein, on methanol electrooxidation at THH Pt NC electrodes studied by a combination of electrochemical techniques and in situ FTIR spectroscopy. Pure THH Pt NC surfaces readily facilitate the dissociative chemisorption of methanol leading to poisoning by strongly adsorbed CO. Decoration of the stepped surfaces by Ru adatoms increases the tolerance to poisoning and thereby reduces the onset potential for methanol oxidation by over 100 mV. The Ru modified THH Pt NCs exhibit greatly superior catalytic currents and CO2 yields in the low potential range, when compared with a commercial PtRu alloy nanoparticle catalyst. These results are of fundamental importance in terms of model nanoparticle electrocatalytic systems of stepped surfaces and also have practical significance in the development of surface tailored, direct methanol fuel cell catalysts.
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