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Group Leader:
Cathy Padró

Group Office:
Leorrie Atencio

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1663
Mailstop D429
Los Alamos, NM

TA 3 Bldg 40
TA 46 Bldgs 16&58

Internal Only


Our Cleanroom Facility is available for use by LANL researchers


MPA-11 Facilities

Fuel cell testing, acoustics laboratories, and a wide spectrum of characterization equipment are essential to the research conducted in our group.

Fuel Cell Testing. ........Acoustics. ........Characterization . ........

Many other multi-disciplinary staff and experimental/computational capabilities throughout Los Alamos National Laboratory are available to support our research. Access to enabling capabilities for the Fuel Cell Program is facilitated by the Laboratory’s Institute for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research.

Fuel Cell Testing

Experimental equipment that is essential to our fuel cell efforts is housed in 24 laboratories at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. A partial list of the equipment in our laboratories includes: 31 single-cell fuel cell (FC) test stands (all hydrogen-capable but several have additional equipment to support direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) testing). Test stands have ability to perform drive-cycle testing and/or potential cycling; one FC stack test stand (20kWe, but load bank could be upgraded); two low-current (<50 Amp) stack test stands (1-49 cells and 6 cell test capability); two fuel processing test stands, capable of chemical flows equivalent to 50 kWe; two modular fuel processors (50 kWe equivalent); one gasoline reformer (50 kWe equivalent); one modular fuel processor capable of unattended operation (~10 kW thermal); one diesel reformer (~10kWe equivalent); nine potentiostat-galvanostats for electroanalytical characterization; two bipotentiostat, rotator, and rotating ring disk electrode (RRDE) system for voltammetric and electrokinetic studies; four Solartron high frequency response analyzers for ac impedance conductivity measurements; one segmented cell and supporting hardware (all LANL designed) for FC spatial performance diagnostics; four hot presses for membrane electrode assembly (MEA) preparation.

Support equipment includes: one Proton Energy Systems Hogen 40 electrolyzer (PEM, 18slpm/38scfh hydrogen generation rate); one Teledyne Energy Systems Titan HM50 electrolyzer (alkaline, 50slpm/106scfh hydrogen generation rate); two Pd-membrane hydrogen gas purifiers for hydrogen-air FC testing; two centralized oil-free air supply systems; ability to simulate any desired fuel gas mixture, including impurities at ppb levels, with desired steam and carbon dioxide content at a controlled temperature. Fuel processing and stack testing laboratories can support flows equivalent to 50 kWe; two centralized de-ionized (DI) water systems and several smaller-throughput systems. Nitrogen and DI water are distributed to most labs along with hydrogen and oil-free air; hydrogen, CO and oxygen safety monitoring systems throughout experimental spaces with automated safety actions, alarms and readouts; two computerized numerical control (CNC) milling machines for machining FC flow fields and other FC hardware.

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Our Acoustics Characterization Facility develops novel noninvasive fluid characterization techniques for detecting and identifying chemicals inside sealed containers. The techniques and instrumentation developed for this activity have numerous applications in industrial process control and monitoring, environmental management, biomedical sensors, and customs (drug interdiction). Our Ultrasonic Interferometric Spectroscopy systems are multipurpose measurement systems that can noninvasively determine fluid physical properties (e.g., sound speed, sound attenuation, density, molecular relaxation time, viscosity, volume fraction in mixtures, and particle size distribution in emulsions) of liquids, mixtures, and gases inside sealed containers of any material and size. The measurements can be made in a frequency range between 100 kHz to 80 MHz and in a temperature range of –30°C to 100°C. The instruments are also capable of characterizing liquid samples smaller than a single drop. Equipment includes: computer-controlled ultrasonic characterization systems; custom-designed ultrasonic interferometry-based characterization systems; automated data-acquisition and data-analysis systems.

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In our research, we apply various techniques including scanning electron microscopy coupled to energy dispersive X-ray analysis, gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, electron beam evaporation, RF magnetron sputtering, thermal gravimetric analysis, solution calorimetry, AC impedance spectroscopy, DC voltammetry and BET surface area measurements to prepare and characterize ionic/electronic conducting materials.

Our extensive gas analysis capabilities include: six gas chromatographs for gas analysis (capabilities include flame ionization detectors (FID), thermal conductivity detectors (TCD) and He photoionization); one micro gas chromatograph; two mass spectrometers; one GC/mass spec; one (Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy; ten non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) analyzers for gas analysis (CO, carbon dioxide); two oxygen analyzers; one hydrocarbon (HC) analyzer; two NOx analyzers; one NO/N2O/NOx analyzer; two Microcatalyst test stands for heterogeneous catalysis studies; two BET analyzers (based on Brunauer, Emmet, and Teller theory) for catalyst surface area analysis; two Laser systems for in situ chemical characterization.

Our extensive materials characterization capabilities include: x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF); powder x-ray diffraction (XRD); high-resolution single-crystal XRD; XRD with whole-pattern fitting and Warren Averbach methods; scanning electron microscopy (SEM); SEM/mapping energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS); stand alone thermogravametric analysis (TGA); stand alone differential scanning calorimetry (DSC); sub-ambient DSC; simultaneous TGA/DSC; differential thermal analysis (DTA); simultaneous DTA/TGA; atomic force microscopy (AFM); optical microscopy; TGA/EGA (evolved gas analysis); high-pressure/high-temperature absorption measurements; dielectric spectroscopy; high-resolution SEM and TEM (through University of New Mexico); contact angle measurements - Wilhelmy Plate Method and Sessile Drop Method (spreading angle vs. droplet volume).

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