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Layer-Structured Fuel Cell Catalysts and Current Collectors


This invention is an atomic layer deposition (ALD) method to fabricate layered thermally stable micro-patterned structures in fuel cells. This process enables precise control over the thickness and two dimensional geometry of a porous metal catalyst and current collectors. The technique also reduces manufacturing costs because it uses minimal materials for the thin film process. The geometry of the resulting structures improves fuel cell performance by reducing losses (ionic and electronic conduction) and operating temperature. The catalysts and current collectors could be used for solid oxide and other types of fuel cells. Applications: Fuel cells - fabrication of catalysts and current collection grids


1) Increased efficiency and lower operating temperatures - fuel cell performance improves by a factor of 10 and power density changes insignificantly over time with 400oC operating temperature. 2) Thin film (as low as 5nm) electrode layer reduces ionic conduction loss. 3) Precisely patterned conducting layer reduces electronic conduction loss and catalyst loading. 4) Porous structures reduce mass transport losses. 5) Simple ALD fabrication for both catalyst layer and current collector layer. 6) Robust catalyst: thermal stability with morphology maintained after annealing at 600oC improved adhesion between the Pt catalyst and substrate. 7) Reduced cost - minimal amount of materials used in thin film process (one-eighth of Pt loading relative to DC-sputtered Pt anodes)

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