Single-chamber fabrication of high-performance low-temperature solid oxide fuel cells with grain-controlled functional layers
A one-step process has been developed for the fabrication of thin film membrane–electrode assemblies with multi-layer electrolytes for use in high-performance, low-temperature solid oxide fuel cells (LT-SOFCs). By controlling the sputter processing conditions, a dense yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) electrolyte film was fabricated onto a porous aluminum oxide (AAO) anodic substrate. Thin, grain-controlled layers (GCLs) were subsequently formed at the cathodic interface to provide a homogeneous functional layer, which significantly enhanced the kinetics of the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). This is attributed to the fine grains and increased grain boundary density of this layer, which were achieved without thermal annealing. Using this new device architecture, the fuel cell was able to reach a peak power density of 343 mW cm−2 at 450 °C.