National Physical Laboratory

Testing services

H2FC European Infrastructure Project logo

NPL is a partner in the H2FC European Infrastructure project. This provides funding for transnational access to NPL's fuel cell testing facilities for users from industry or research institutions located in EU member states and associated states.

For more information or to make an enquiry, please click here


  • Testing in H2S environments
    • dedicated test laboratory
  • Materials selection for resistance to environment assisted cracking
    • proof rings, 4 pt bend, C-rings; slow strain rate and corrosion fatigue, HIC
    • drop-evaporation SCC kit
    • hydrogen permeation test systems to measure hydrogen uptake and diffusion rate
  • 8 autoclaves for high pressure/high temperature testing
  • Corrosion inhibition measurement
    • small-scale flow loop
    • multi-electrode underdeposit corrosion facility
  • Pitting, crevice and intergranular corrosion evaluation
    • crevice assemblies
    • galvanic corrosion testing
    • electro-potential reactivation test for intergranular corrosion in sensitized alloys and for depleted zones associated with particles (e.g. s-phase in DSS)
    • critical pitting temperature
    • pitting and repassivation potentials
    • potentiodynamic test stations
    • scanning electrochemical microscopy
  • Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
  • Failure analysis
  • Corrosion consultancy

Photovoltaics and Organic Electronics

  • Opto-electrical measurements
    • Display metrology
    • Electro-absorption: built-in electric field
    • Dark injection transient spectroscopy: charge mobility
    • Probe station with inert atmosphere and variable temperature linked to semiconductor parameter analyzer
    • Class AAA solar simulator: solar cell efficiency
    • Current vs. voltage measurements (in dark or under simulated sun light)
    • IPCE/EQE - Incident photon-to-current conversion efficiency (external quantum efficiency): spectral photoresponse for solar cell characterization
    • Micro to millimeter scale photocurrent mapping (up to 225 cm2 samples) (LBIC, broadband illumination)
    • Electrical characterisation of interconnects

Electrochemical Testing and Imaging

  • Potentiostatic/potentiodynamic polarisation
  • Rotating disc/cylinder electrode systems
  • Scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM)
  • Scanning ion conductance microscopy (SICM)
  • Scanning vibrating electrode system (SVET)
  • Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS)

Fuel cells

  • Single cell and short stack testing up to 500 W (PEMFC)
  • Instrumented single cell testing - in situ measurement of potential, humidity, temperature, localised current density
  • Corrosion testing of metallic bipolar plates
  • Electrochemical characterisation of fuel cell electrocatalysts

Material Characterisation

  • Scanning probe microscopies
    • AFM - Atomic force microscopy: topography
    • SKPM - Scanning Kelvin probe microscopy (atmospheric and ultra-high vacuum): workfunction
    • C-AFM - Conductive AFM: nanoscale current response
  • Surface analysis
    • XPS - X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy: surface chemical composition
    • UPS - Ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy: material workfunction
    • TOF-SIMS – Time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry: chemical depth profiling
    • Contact angle measurement: surface energy mapping for print deposition characterisation
    • Spectroscopic ellipsometry: film thickness and optical properties
  • Morphological characterisation
    • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with EDX and WDX analysis
    • Field emission SEM: high-resolution images of nanoscale topographic features
    • Electron back-scattering diffraction (EBSD)
    • Confocal and optical microscopy: surface topography
    • White-light interferometry: surface roughness, topography
  • Mechanical characterisation
    • Nano-indentation: modulus, creep, hardness and impact properties
  • Rheology


Please note that the information will not be divulged to third parties, or used without your permission