Revealing the Internal Architecture of Alkaline Fuel Cell Membranes with Cryo-4D-STEM and Cryo-STEM-EELS

Danielle Markovich, Michael Colletta, Yue Yu, Megan Treichel, Jesse H. Hsu, Bryan Pivovar, Brett P. Fors, Kevin J.T. Noonan, Lena F. Kourkoutis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


Characterization of the internal architecture of polymer materials plays an important role in the development of energy devices such as fuel cells. The beam sensitivity of polymer materials coupled with their inherent low contrast makes imaging using conventional TEM and STEM techniques a challenge. Here, we demonstrate robust mapping of the internal architecture of fuel cell polymer membranes using cryo-4D-STEM and cryo-STEM-EELS. We will focus on characterization of alkaline anion exchange membranes (AAEMs) used in AAEM fuel cells, a cheaper alternative to current fuel cell technologies as they allow for platinum group metal-free catalysts [1]. In fuel cell polymer membranes, the internal architecture is critical in performance metrics such as conductivity, mechanical durability, and chemical stability.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1274-1276
Number of pages3
JournalMicroscopy and Microanalysis
Issue numberSupplement 1
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-87464


  • alkaline anion exchange membranes
  • chemical stability
  • conductivity
  • cryo-4D-STEM
  • cryo-STEM-EELS
  • fuel cell polymer membranes
  • mechanical durability
  • polymer materials


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