Enhancement of 'dry' proton conductivity by self-assembled nanochannels in all-solid polyelectrolytes

Azhar Hussain Shah, Jiaye Li, Hengrui Yang, Usman Ali Rana, Vijayaraghavan Ranganathan, Humaira M. Siddigi, Douglas R. Macfarlane, Maria Forsyth, Haijin Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Proton transport has been recognized as an essential process in many biological systems, as well as electrochemical devices including fuel cells and redox flow batteries. In the present study, we address the pressing need for solvent-free proton conducting polymer electrolytes for high-temperature PEM fuel cell applications by developing a novel all-solid polyelectrolyte membrane with a self-assembled proton-channel structure. We show that this self-assembled nanostructure endows the material with exciting 'dry' proton conductivity at elevated temperatures, as high as 0.3 mS cm-1 at 120 °C, making it an attractive candidate for high-temperature PEM fuel cell applications. Based on the combined investigation of solid-state NMR, FTIR and conductivity measurements, we propose that both molecular design and nano-scale structures are essential for obtaining highly conductive anhydrous proton conductors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7615-7623
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number20
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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