If the level of carbonate on the cathode surface is too high it can create a barrier which negatively impacts fuel cell performance. These carbonates have a detrimental effect on the oxygen reduction reaction at the surface and act as a limit to the oxygen ion transport through the cell. These carbonates are generally located in the first few nm of the surface. This kind of information can only be obtained by a select few techniques like XPS, which has unique surface sensitivity and chemical specificity.
Find out how with this application note.