Structural kinetics of a Pt/C cathode catalyst with practical catalyst loading in an MEA for PEFC operating conditions studied by in situ time-resolved XAFS†
The structural kinetics of surface events on a Pt/C cathode catalyst in a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) with a practical catalyst loading (0.5 mgPt cm−2) for a polymer electrolyte fuel cell were investigated by in situ time-resolved X-ray absorption fine structure analysis (XAFS; time resolution: 100 ms) for the first time. The rate constants of structural changes in the Pt/C cathode catalyst in the MEA during voltage cycling were successfully estimated. For voltage-cycling processes, all reactions (electrochemical reactions and structural changes in the Pt catalyst) in the MEA were found to be much faster than those in an MEA with a thick cathode catalyst layer, but the in situ time-resolved XAFS analysis revealed that significant time lags similarly existed between the electrochemical reactions and the structural changes in the Pt cathode catalyst. The time-resolved XAFS also revealed differences in the structural kinetics of the Pt/C cathode catalyst for the voltage-cycling processes under N2 and air flows at the cathode.