Advanced Impedance Spectroscopy Study of the Influence of the Crystalline Structure on the Ionic Conduction of Thin Solid-State Electrolytes
Another way is by reducing the grain size. At present it is not clear how the microstructure of solid state electrolytes affect the electrical conduction. In literature, the experiments on nanocrystalline solid oxides yield contradictory observations [1-6]. A good understanding of the relationship between microstructure and ion conductivity would open the possibility to engineer advanced thin materials for solid oxide fuel cells.
We propose an experimental and modeling approach that aims at unraveling the electrical behavior of thin film solid state electrolytes, by considering the crystalline nature of the material. Through careful comparison of simulations and measurements we want to explain the observed electrical properties of these materials to predict how their conductivity can be enhanced.
In this research, the complex electrical properties at different temperatures of yttrium-doped ceria electrolytes, with different thicknesses and grain sizes, are determined by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The solid oxide is deposited by reactive magnetron sputtering, which allows us to modify the morphology and composition of the thin film in a controlled and flexible way .
In the EIS characterization, improved electrode geometry is also searched. Experiments with platinum co-planar electrodes are performed and compared with those with an interdigital electrode structure. The specific electrode geometry is designed by 2D simulations for a solid oxide film in contact with the substrate.
A finite element model of the electrical conductivity was recently developed to simulate impedance spectra and electrical conductivities as a function of grain size and temperature . More rigorous than the dilute solution models, it is based on the application of the linear phenomenological relations to a crystal lattice.
The impedance modeling provides a description of the electrical behavior of the material. The EIS results are then compared with the ones generated by the finite element model. The combined analysis aims to elucidate the experimental evidence that is not explained by the available physical models. Therefore, it represents a strong approach to understand the electrical properties and ion conduction of solid electrolytes.
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