High-entropy alloy nanoparticles (HEA NPs) emerged as catalysts with superior performances that are not shown in monometallic catalysts. Although many kinds of synthesis techniques of HEA NPs have been developed recently, synthesizing HEA NPs with ultrasmall particle size and narrow size distribution remains challenging because most of the reported synthesis methods require high temperatures that accelerate particle growth. This work provides a new methodology for the fabrication of ultrasmall and homogeneous HEA NPs using a continuous-flow reactor with a liquid-phase reduction method. We successfully synthesized ultrasmall IrPdPtRhRu HEA NPs (1.32 ± 0.41 nm), theoretically each consisting of approximately 50 atoms. This average size is the smallest ever reported for HEA NPs. All five elements are homogeneously mixed at the atomic level in each particle. The obtained HEA NPs marked a significantly high hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) activity with a very small 6 mV overpotential at 10 mA/cm-2 in acid, which is one-third of the overpotential of commercial Pt/C. In addition, although mass production of HEA NPs is still difficult, this flow synthesis can provide high productivity with high reproducibility, which is more energy efficient and suitable for mass production. Therefore, this study reports the 1 nm-sized HEA NPs with remarkably high HER activity and establishes a platform for the production of ultrasmall and homogeneous HEA NPs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry