Multi-Technique Characterization of Spray Coated and Roll-to-Roll Coated Gas Diffusion Fuel Cell Electrodes

Samantha Medina, Jayson Foster, Michael Dzara, Min Wang, Michael Ulsh, Scott Mauger, Svitlana Pylypenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus Citations


This work reports the characterization of catalyst layer (CL) structure and composition for a set of gas-diffusion electrodes (GDEs) fabricated by different coating methods with the goal of developing a better understanding of CL processing-structure-property-performance relationships. The CL coating techniques used in this study were ultrasonic spray coating, and two roll-to-roll (R2R) methods – gravure and slot die. Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) coupled with X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) analysis of GDE cross-sections provided bulk information, while scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with EDS and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) were used to investigate the near surface and surface composition of the CLs that will be in direct contact with the membrane once the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) is constructed. This study demonstrates that common quantification parameters, namely the F:Pt ratio extracted from cross-sectional STEM-EDS maps and top-down CL measurements with SEM and XPS, along with roughness parameters quantified from SEM micrographs are useful parameters in explaining and potentially predicting performance trends. Additionally, it highlights the importance of understanding key CL surface properties for advancing the manufacturability of high-performance components for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) technologies.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number232670
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-84448


  • GDE
  • MEA Interfaces
  • Processing-structure-property-performance relationship
  • Quantification
  • Roughness
  • Surface composition


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