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Fuel cell technology

Non-destructive analysis of functional surfaces near the production line

Optical 3D surface measurement technology makes an important contribution to the development of efficient and powerful fuel cells. Decisive for their degree of efficiency are micro-geometries of inlying areas and channels through which hydrogen and air flow. Additionally, measuring options and results aim at the further miniaturization of fuel cells.

To meet these requirements, the NanoFocus product lines µscan and µsprint are suitable measurement systems. Both technologies deliver measurement results in the micrometer and nanometer range. Low-reflective and dark graphite surfaces can be analyzed reliably which is not possible with triangulation or image processing systems. All measurements are performed without destruction or previous preparation of the surface.


Examples of application

The NanoFocus optical 3D measurement systems are applied in research and development, different stages of production, as well as in quality control of fuel cells. NanoFocus offers reliable solutions for random sample measurements close to production, as well as for 100% inspections.

Measurements at the MEA (SOFC)

Evenness and waviness

The evenness and waviness of the membrane electrode assembly is crucial for the durabilty and life expectancy. µscan custom determines deviations in form and visualizes them. 

Products: µscan custom, µsurf custom, µsoft analysis

Particle size distribution and electrode microstructure


Products: µscan select, µsurf custom, µsoft analysis

Layer thickness


Products: µscan select, µsurf custom, µsoft analysis

Measurements on bipolar plates

Bipolar plates

The ribbed surfaces of bipolar plates (BPP) must be inspected for defects in the form of connectors and tips. The µsprint technology allows the measurement of complete plates including the evaluation and result display within only 30 seconds.

Products: µsprint topographer, µsprint sensorµscancustom, µsurf custom, µsoft analysis

Metallic bilpolar plates


Products: µscan select, µsurf custom, µsoft analysis

Wafer bipolar plates

Microgeometric parameters have to be analyzed on wafer bipolar plates. The height and even distribution of pylones can be determined quickly and easily with the help of profile sections.

µscan select, µsurf custom, µsoft analysis

Measurements on the gas difussion layer

Gas diffusion layer (GDL)

The thickness of the gas diffusion layer is determined with the µsurf technology. Additionally, roughness and porosity are evaluated by means of areal parameters.

µsurf custom, µsoft analysis

Texture and thickness of fibers

The diameter of fibres can be detected with the µsurf technology by means of reflection data. The preferred direction of the fibres can also be determined.

Products: µsurf custom, µsoft analysis

Detection of flaws and quality defects

Catalyst accumulation

Further criteria are roughness, distribution og particles and thickness MEA surfaces, for instance, covered with, for instance, platinum.

Products: µsurf custom, µsoft analysis

Folds and cracks


Products: µsurf custom, µsoft analysis

Benefits at a glance

  • Development and process control
  • Measurements near the production line
  • Traceable measurement results
  • Non-destructive and independent of material
  • Measurement of transparent and polished surfaces

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