SEM and XAS characterization at beginning of life of Pd-based cathode electrocatalysts in PEM fuel cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The fuel cell performance of membrane electrode assemblies with a Pt anode and Pd, PdCu or Pd5Cu4Pt cathodes has been tested during 116 h (beginning of life). The incorporation of Cu to Pd increases the fuel cell performance. Incorporation of Pt leads to further improvement. SEM micrographs of the as-prepared and the fuel cell-tested assemblies show the effects of the 116 h of continuous operation. Nafion membranes were characterized by small angle X-ray scattering. The results show a reduction of the size of the lamellar domains in the perfluorinated matrix after fuel cell testing, but no correlation with the cathode electrocatalyst material. The cathode electrocatalysts were characterized by ex-situ synchrotron radiation X-ray diffraction and X-ray absorption spectroscopy at the Pd L-3, Cu K and Pt L-3 edges. Re-organization of Pd5Cu4Pt electrocatalyst after fuel cell testing was observed. The Cu in the electrocatalyst can be described as a nano-mixture of metallic Cu, alloyed Cu and CuO. The CuO acts as a promoter of the ORR. Copyright (C) 2014, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Karina Suarez Alcantara
  • D. C. Martinez-Casillas
  • Kaibo Zheng
  • Qiushi Zhu
  • Mohamed Qenawy
  • Dörthe Haase
  • Tönu Pullerits
  • O. Solorza-Feria
  • Sophie Canton
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Sciences
  • Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics
  • Natural Sciences


  • Synchrotron radiation, Electrocatalyst, Fuel cell, Pd nanoparticles
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5358-5370
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Max-laboratory (011012005), Chemical Physics (S) (011001060)