Enhancing the quality of the tomography of nanoporous materials for better understanding of polymer electrolyte fuel cell materials

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2015
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Vierrath, Severin
Güder, Firat
Menzel, Andreas
Zengerle, Roland
Zacharias, Margit
Thiele, Simon
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Journal of Power Sources. 2015, 285, pp. 413-417. ISSN 0378-7753. eISSN 1873-2755. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2015.03.110
Zusammenfassung

To investigate the nanostructure of polymer electrolyte fuel cell catalyst layers, focused ion beam – scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) tomography is a common technique. However, as FIB-SEM tomography lacks of image contrast between the catalyst layer and its pores, state-of-the-art reconstruction methods by threshold cannot accurately distinguish between these two phases. We show that this inability leads to an underestimation of the porosity by a factor of nearly two, a reconstruction with channel-like artifacts and that these artifacts make it impossible to calculate reliable diffusivities. To overcome this problem, we fill the pores of the catalyst layer with ZnO via atomic layer deposition prior to tomography. By using atomic layer deposition, even smallest pores can be filled with ZnO, which exhibits a good contrast to the catalyst layer in SEM images. As a result, we present the porosity of the catalyst layer (65%) and its three-dimensional representation without typical reconstruction artifacts. Calculated O2 diffusivities (23.05–25.40 × 10−7 m2 s−1) inside the catalyst layer are in good agreement with experimental values from the literature. Furthermore, filling with ZnO permits the identification of large Pt clusters inside the catalyst layer, which were estimated to reduce the catalyst surface area by 9%.

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Fachgebiet (DDC)
530 Physik
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Polymer electrolyte fuel cell, Catalyst layer, FIB-SEM tomography, Atomic layer deposition, Diffusion, Segmentation
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ISO 690VIERRATH, Severin, Firat GÜDER, Andreas MENZEL, Matthias HAGNER, Roland ZENGERLE, Margit ZACHARIAS, Simon THIELE, 2015. Enhancing the quality of the tomography of nanoporous materials for better understanding of polymer electrolyte fuel cell materials. In: Journal of Power Sources. 2015, 285, pp. 413-417. ISSN 0378-7753. eISSN 1873-2755. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2015.03.110
BibTex
@article{Vierrath2015Enhan-31171,
  year={2015},
  doi={10.1016/j.jpowsour.2015.03.110},
  title={Enhancing the quality of the tomography of nanoporous materials for better understanding of polymer electrolyte fuel cell materials},
  volume={285},
  issn={0378-7753},
  journal={Journal of Power Sources},
  pages={413--417},
  author={Vierrath, Severin and Güder, Firat and Menzel, Andreas and Hagner, Matthias and Zengerle, Roland and Zacharias, Margit and Thiele, Simon}
}
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