Sputtered Pt loadings of membrane electrode assemblies in proton exchange membrane fuel cells

Yi Chieh Lai, Kuo Lin Huang, Cheng Hsien Tsai, Wen Jhy Lee, Ying Liang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The fabrication of electrodes use in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) by Pt sputter deposition has great potential to increase Pt utilization and reduce Pt loading without loss of cell performance. A radio frequency (RF) magnetron sputter deposition process (RF power=100W and argon pressure=10 -3Torr) was adopted to prepare Pt catalyst layers of PEMFC electrodes. The effects of cathode Pt and Nafion loadings on membrane electrode assembly (MEA)/cell performance were investigated using cell polarization, cyclic voltammetry, AC impedance, and microstructure analysis. Among the tested MEAs with various cathode Pt loadings (0.02-0.4mgcm -2), the one with 0.1mg-Ptcm -2 (grain size=3.90nm, mainly Pt(111)) exhibited the best cell performance (320 and 285mWcm -2 at 0.44 and 0.60V, respectively), which was similar to or better than those of some commercial nonsputtered/sputtered electrodes with the same or higher Pt loadings. The electrode Pt utilization efficiency increased as the Pt loading decreased. A Pt loading of greater than or lower than 0.1mgcm -2 yielded a lower electrode electrochemical active surface (EAS) area but a higher charge transfer and diffusion resistance. Nafion impregnation (0.1 to 0.3mgcm -2) into the sputtered Pt layer (Pt=0.1mgcm -2) noticeably increased the EAS area, consistent with the decrease of the capacitance of the electrode double layer, but did not improve MEA/cell performance, mainly because of the increase in the kinetic and mass transfer resistances associated with oxygen reduction on the cathode.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-927
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun 25

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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