Core-shell nanostructures are emerging as more important materials than alloy nanostructures and have much more interesting potential applications in various fields. In this work, we demonstrated the fast and facile synthesis of core-shell nanoparticles consisting of Pt thin layer as the shell and Ni nanoparticles as the cores. The described method herein is suitable for large-scale and low-cost production of the core-shell nanoparticles. X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy techniques were used to investigate the physicochemical characterizations. Importantly, the catalytic activity of Ni@Pt core-shell nanoparticles was probed to develop electrocatalyst in direct ethanol fuel cells (DEFCs). This electrocatalyst was applied to ethanol oxidation reaction for first time. Thus, the electrocatalytic activity of the Ni@Pt core-shell nanoparticles towards ethanol oxidation reaction has been investigated by cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry methods in NaOH solution. The Ni@Pt core-shell nanoparticles show markedly enhanced electrocatalytic activity and stability for ethanol oxidation compared with the Pt nanoparticles catalyst. The results indicate that the Jf/Jb of Ni@Pt is 1.4 times that of Pt. This high electrocatalytic performance can be attributed to the unique structure of the as-prepared nanoparticles. The attractive performances of Ni@Pt core-shell nanoparticles make them a promising candidate electrocatalyst for ethanol electrooxidation.
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