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Laser-Induced Graphene as electrode material in Proton-Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells
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1  Politecnico di Torino
2  Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
Academic Editor: Minas Stylianakis


In 2014, the discovery of Laser-Induced Graphene (LIG) led to a revolution in the preparation of graphene foams. The LIG method allows to effortlessly produce patterned graphene-like foams with high surface area from polyimides. Specifically, LIG is obtained by means of a photothermal process, which is initiated by a pulsed CO2 laser scriber in ambient conditions. Since its discovery, LIG has received much attention from researchers, and nowadays it has a wide range of established applications. However, to the best of our knowledge, only a few studies have focused on potential applications of LIG in Proton-Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEM-FC) devices. In this context, porous carbon-based materials have been accepted for several years as a standard in the fabrication of PEM-FC Gas Diffusion Electrodes (GDEs) and catalyst supports. Porous carbon-based materials fulfill many crucial roles in PEM-FCs: they provide electronic conduction pathways; they exhibit high electrochemically active surface area; they have the capability to both transport gases to reaction sites and remove excess water through their pores. As a result of our study, we present robust evidence of LIG being a potential alternative to conventional carbon-based materials for GDE as well as catalyst support in PEM-FC devices. We investigate morphological, electric, chemical, and electrochemical properties of LIG; key properties for applications in PEM-FCs. We treat the LIG precursor with metal salts to further increase LIG porosity and surface area. Moreover, this treatment activates the carbon within the LIG, thus increasing catalytic performance of LIG towards the Oxygen Reduction Reaction occurring in PEM-FCs. We believe that the promising results we obtained, in addition to the ease and speed of preparation of LIG, could lead to the replacement of conventional carbon-based materials as GDEs and catalyst supports in PEM-FC devices.

Keywords: LIG; PEM-FC;