Formation of nanocomposite solid oxide fuel cell cathodes by preferential clustering of cations from a single polymeric precursor
Eksioğlu, Aycan and Colakerol Arslan, Leyla and Sezen, Meltem and Ow-Yang, Cleva W. and Büyükaksoy, Aligül (2019) Formation of nanocomposite solid oxide fuel cell cathodes by preferential clustering of cations from a single polymeric precursor. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 11 (51). pp. 47904-47916. ISSN 1944-8244 (Print) 1944-8252 (Online)
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.9b15383
Conventional composite cathodes used in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are fabricated by co-sintering of electrocatalyst and ionic conductor powders at 1100–1250 °C. The relatively high-temperature heat treatments required to ensure bonding among the powders and between the powders and electrolyte results in the formation of resistive phases and coarse microstructures corresponding to short triple-phase boundary (TPB) length and, consequently, low oxygen reduction activity. In the present work, to achieve long TPBs and avoid resistive phase formation, we propose to fabricate nanocomposite La0.8Sr0.2MnO3–Ce0.8Sm0.2O2 (LSM-SDC) and La0.8Ca0.2MnO3–Ce0.8Sm0.2O2 (LCM-SDC) thin film cathodes by a low-temperature method, which involves the use of a single polymeric precursor solution containing all the respective cations. Owing to the molecular level mixing and the liquid lack of any powder-based starting material, we envision that preferential clustering of cations forming nanoscale electrocatalyst and ionic conductor particles will take place upon heat treatment at relatively low temperatures of 600–800 °C. Here, we report for the first time in the literature, a correlation between the heat-treatment temperature–phase evolution–cluster formation–surface chemistry evolution and electrochemical activity of nanocomposite thin film cathodes fabricated from a single polymeric precursor. Our experiments reveal that highest electrochemical activity is achieved when the electrocatalyst phase is poorly crystallized, complete clustering of cations takes place, and A-site dopant segregation at the surface is minimal.
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