The authors thank Aparna Rao and the Center of Material Science and Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Chemical Transport Systems Program of the Engineering Division of the National Science Foundation for the financial support of this project grant number CTS-0136029. Additional support was provided by the Office of Naval Research Polymers Program.
Designing a New Generation of Proton-Exchange Membranes Using Layer-by-Layer Deposition of Polyelectrolytes†
Article first published online: 10 MAR 2005
Copyright © 2005 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
Advanced Functional Materials
Volume 15, Issue 6, pages 945–954, June, 2005
How to Cite
Farhat, T. R. and Hammond, P. T. (2005), Designing a New Generation of Proton-Exchange Membranes Using Layer-by-Layer Deposition of Polyelectrolytes. Adv. Funct. Mater., 15: 945–954. doi: 10.1002/adfm.200400318
- Issue published online: 27 MAY 2005
- Article first published online: 10 MAR 2005
- Manuscript Accepted: 24 SEP 2004
- Manuscript Received: 13 JUL 2004
- Fuel cells;
- Layer-by-layer assembly;
- Membranes, conducting;
All fuel cells utilizing the membrane-electrode assembly have their ion-conductive membrane sandwiched between bipolar plates. Unfortunately, applying conventional techniques to isolated polyelectrolyte membranes is challenging and difficult. A more practical alternative is to use the layer-by-layer assembly technique to fabricate a membrane-electrode assembly that is technologically relatively simple, economic, and robust. The process presented here paves the way to fabricate ion-conductive membranes tailored for optimum performance in terms of controlled thickness, structural morphology, and catalyst loading. Composite membranes are constructed through the layered assembly of ionically conductive multilayer thin films atop a porous polycarbonate membrane. Under ambient conditions, a fuel cell using a poly(ethylene oxide)/poly(acrylic acid) (PEO/PAA) composite membrane delivers a maximum power density of 16.5 mW cm–2 at a relative humidity of 55 %, which is close to that of some commercial fuel cells operating under the same conditions. Further optimization of these systems may lead to new, ultrathin, flexible fuel cells for portable power and micropower applications.