Thin Film Morphological Characteristics of a Perfluorinated Anion Exchange Membrane

Ashutosh G. Divekar, Nora C. Buggy, Peter J. Dudenas, Ahmet Kusoglu, Soenke Seifert, Bryan S. Pivovar, Andrew M. Herring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus Citations


Anion exchange membranes (AEMs) are a promising technology for fuel cell applications. Most of the research done to date was focused on membrane development, electrode fabrication, or cell performance. Studies of the polymer catalyst interface are needed in order to advance the science of these devices and achieve further improvements. Here we have studied these interfacial properties using grazing-incidence small-angle x-ray scattering (GISAXS). Thin films of a perfluorinated anion exchange polymer were spin cast onto bare, or silver or platinum coated flat silicon substrates. From the GISAXS data, we can conclude that the polymer chains align parallel to the plain silicon or silver coated substrate at higher thicknesses, >17 nm and, >13 nm respectively. However, on the coated platinum substrate the alignment is somewhere between parallel and perpendicular. The in-plane alignment of ionomer on the surface constrains the swelling of water channels which affects the transport of reactants and products.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)715-722
Number of pages8
JournalECS Transactions
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2019
EventSymposium on Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers 19, PEFC and E 2019 - 236th ECS Meeting - Atlanta, United States
Duration: 13 Oct 201917 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Electrochemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-75903


  • anion exchange membranes
  • fuel cells
  • interfacial properties


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