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Understanding a Degradation Mechanism of Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Using TOF-SIMS and XPS

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posted on 10.01.2008 by Youngsu Chung, Chanho Pak, Gyeong-Su Park, Woo Sung Jeon, Ji-Rae Kim, Yoonhoi Lee, Hyuk Chang, Doyoung Seung
The catalyst layers, which were obtained from the aged membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) showing performance loss, 17%, 37%, 45% as compared with that from the pristine MEA were investigated using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (TOF-SIMS) to understand the degradation mechanism of single-cell performance in direct methanol fuel cell. The metallic components in the PtRu anode catalyst layer was decreased significantly with the performance drop revealed from the change of the valance bands. It has been found that ruthenium and platinum were driven to the cathode by the gradient of electric field during the durability test. From the mass-resolved imaging technique of TOF-SIMS combined with a peel-off method, it was indicated that the traveled ruthenium from anode to cathode was not uniformly distributed within the cathode catalyst layer, but more accumulated at the surface of the catalyst layer, that is, the interface with the gas diffusion layer. XPS and TOF-SIMS results suggested that the ruthenium ions are electro-deposited to RuOx rather than metallic Ru, which seems to more closely correlate with the degradation of performance.

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