Dr Jennifer Hack
University College London
Research Project: Multi-scale characterisation of polymer electrolyte fuel cells
Supervisors: Dan Brett and Paul Shearing (UCL), Nigel Brandon (Imperial)
Jen graduated from Durham University with an MChem in Chemistry (International Route). Jen carried out her final year research project at the University of Würzburg, Germany, where she explored the synthesis and characterisation of luminescent coordination compounds. During her studies, Jen spent a summer at the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France, where she used computational chemistry to elucidate oxygen ion migration in solid oxide fuel cells.
Jen’s PhD research project aims to elucidate the degradation processes occurring in polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs), by correlating their electrochemical performance to structural changes that arise. Using a multiscale approach, information about PEFCs from the stack‑ to the nanoparticle‑level can be obtained. X‑ray computed tomography (X‑ray CT) is a technique that is particularly well suited to imaging across the length scales and has the further advantage that imaging is carried out in 3‑dimensions without any damage to the sample. Jen will also be using techniques such as scanning electron microscopy, electrochemical characterisation including cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy to assist with her research.