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A nanoporous silicon membrane electrode assembly for on-chip micro fuel cell applications

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6 Author(s)
Kuan-Lun Chu ; Dept. of Chem. & Biomolecular Eng., Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA ; Gold, S. ; Subramanian, V. ; Chang Lu
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Silicon-based fuel cells are under active development for chip-scale electrical power supply. One of the greatest challenges in micro-fuel-cell research is the development of a suitable proton conducting membrane material that is compatible with standard silicon microfabrication technology. In this paper, the use of nanoporous silicon as a novel proton conducting membrane material in a microscale fuel cell membrane electrode assembly (MEA) is demonstrated. The devices were fabricated by first creating 100-μm-thick silicon windows in a standard silicon wafer, anodizing to create pores in the windows, and then painting catalyst layers and insulators onto the porous structures. Using 5 M formic acid and 0.5 M sulfuric acid as the fuel, the fuel cell peak power density reached about 30 mW/cm2 at current density level of about 120 mA/cm2. These results represent the successful integration of a new class of protonic conductor into a microfabricated silicon fuel cell.

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 3 )