Improvement of fuel cell catalyst performance through zirconia protective layer coating by atomic layer deposition

Jinhyuk Lim, Jung Woo Shim, Dong Joon Kim, Jong Seon Park, Junmo Koo, Joon Hyung Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, the performance of the cathode catalyst of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells is improved by the atomic layer deposition (ALD) of a protective layer. An atomic layer-scale zirconia protective layer is coated on the platinum catalyst for surface treatment. The results indicate that a very thin layer deposition with two ALD cycles or less is required to minimize the deterioration of the activity of the catalyst. Further, it is also confirmed that the catalyst aggregation can be effectively suppressed by its encapsulation with the protective layer through several ALD cycles from the analysis of the electrochemical surface area by cyclic voltammetry and the change in the catalyst particle size. According to the results, even two ALD cycles, which provide less than one atom layer, has decreased the deterioration rate to one-fourth of that of the untreated catalyst, with a minor decrease in the fuel cell power. In addition, the I–V data and impedance spectroscopy confirms that the overall stability of the membrane electrode assembly is improved by the ALD treatment. Thus, the ALD of a protective layer is considered to be a very promising strategy to improve the stability and performance of fuel cell catalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number229923
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun 30


  • Atomic layer deposition
  • Cathode
  • Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell
  • Stability
  • Surface treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Improvement of fuel cell catalyst performance through zirconia protective layer coating by atomic layer deposition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this