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Issue 21, 2007
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Electrochemical atomic force microscopy study of proton conductivity in a Nafion membrane

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Abstract

High membrane conductivity is one of the key parameters in polymer electrolyte fuel cell applications. We introduce an electrochemical atomic force microscopy method that provides simultaneously the surface topography of a Nafion 112 membrane and the conductivity of ion channels with an unprecedented resolution of ca. 10 nm. For given conditions, a large fraction of the channel ports is found to conduct exactly the same number of protons per unit time. This is taken as evidence for an optimum pore size and structure for proton conduction, or alternatively, for an efficient connectivity of the ion channel network, so that the same conductivity is measured at all exit pores. The time response following a potential step and the influence of the relative humidity on the transport properties is investigated. The method will be of relevance for tailoring the production technology to yield an optimised micromorphology, and it permits detailed tests of membrane models and provides data for theoretical modelling of proton conductivity.

Graphical abstract: Electrochemical atomic force microscopy study of proton conductivity in a Nafion membrane

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Article information


Submitted
01 Dec 2006
Accepted
08 Mar 2007
First published
27 Mar 2007

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2007,9, 2735-2743
Article type
Paper

Electrochemical atomic force microscopy study of proton conductivity in a Nafion membrane

E. Aleksandrova, R. Hiesgen, K. Andreas Friedrich and E. Roduner, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2007, 9, 2735
DOI: 10.1039/B617516C

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