Anion conductivity at the surfaces of two anion-exchange membranes (AEMs), quaternized ammonium poly(arylene ether) multiblock copolymer (QPE-bl-3) and quaternized ammonium poly(arylene perfluoro-alkylene) copolymer (QPAF-1), synthesized by our group was investigated using current-sensing atomic force microscopy under purified air at various relative humidities. The anion-conducting spots were distributed inhomogeneously on the surface of QPE-bl-3, and the total areas of the anion-conducting spots and the current at each spot increased with humidity. The anion-conductive areas on QPAF-1 were found on the entire surface even at a low humidity. Distribution of the anion-conducting spots on the membrane was found to directly affect the performance of an AEM fuel cell.
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