A universal approach for the synthesis of mesoporous gold, palladium and platinum films for applications in electrocatalysis
© 2020, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited. High-surface-area mesoporous materials expose abundant functional sites for improved performance in applications such as gas storage/separation, catalysis, and sensing. Recently, soft templates composed of amphiphilic surfactants and block copolymers have been used to introduce mesoporosity in various materials, including metals, metal oxides and carbonaceous compounds. In particular, mesoporous metals are attractive in electrocatalysis because their porous networks expose numerous unsaturated atoms on high-index facets that are highly active in catalysis. In this protocol, we describe how to create mesoporous metal films composed of gold, palladium, or platinum using block copolymer micelle templates. The amphiphilic block copolymer micelles are the sacrificial templates and generate uniform structures with tunable pore sizes in electrodeposited metal films. The procedure describes the electrodeposition in detail, including parameters such as micelle diameters, deposition potentials, and deposition times to ensure reproducibility. The micelle diameters can be controlled by swelling the micelles with different solvent mixtures or by using block copolymer micelles with different molecular weights. The deposition potentials and deposition times allow further control of the mesoporous structure and its thickness, respectively. Procedures for example applications are included: glucose oxidation, ethanol oxidation and methanol oxidation reactions. The synthetic methods for preparation of mesoporous metal films will take ~4 h; the subsequent electrochemical tests will take ~5 h for glucose sensing and ~3 h for alcohol oxidation reaction.