Journal of Applied Electrochemistry

, Volume 37, Issue 12, pp 1447–1454 | Cite as

Realising a reference electrode in a polymer electrolyte fuel cell by laser ablation

  • Dietmar GerteisenEmail author
Original Paper


This work presents a new concept for realising a reference electrode configuration in a PEM fuel cell by means of laser ablation. The laser beam is used to evaporate a small part of the electrode of a catalyst-coated membrane (CCM) to isolate the reference electrode from the active catalyst layer. This method enables the simultaneous ablation of the electrodes on both sides of the CCM because the membrane is transparent for the laser beam. Therefore, a smooth electrode edge without electrode misalignment can be realised. A test fuel cell was constructed which together with the ablated CCM enables the separation of the total cell losses during operation into the cathode, anode and membrane overpotentials in PEFC as well as in DMFC mode. The methanol tolerance of a selenium-modified ruthenium-based catalyst (RuSe x ) was investigated under real fuel cell conditions by measuring polarisation curves, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and current interrupt measurements (CI).


PEMFC DMFC Methanol-tolerant catalyst Reference electrode Current interrupt measurements Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy 



This work was financially supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) under contract No. 03SF0302. Special thanks goes to Dr. S. Fiechter from HMI Berlin for the supply of RuSe x -catalyst and Dr. K. Wippermann from RC Juelich for preparing the CCM samples.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy SystemsFreiburgGermany

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