J. Fleig, F. Baumann, M. Konuma, U. Starke, H.-U. Habermeier, J. Maier:
"Strong Performance Improvement of La0.6Sr0.4Co0.8Fe0.2 Cathodes by Electrochemical Activation";
Journal of the Electrochemical Society,
It is shown that the electrochemical resistance of mixed conducting solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) model cathodes can be reduced drastically by a short but strong dc polarization of the cell. The samples investigated are dense thin-film microelectrodes of La0.6Sr0.4Co0.8Fe0.2O3- on a yttria-stabilized zirconia solid electrolyte. Relative performance improvements of more than two orders of magnitude can be achieved with a cathodic dc bias of the order of 1 V, applied for a few minutes at fuel cell operating temperature. The positive effect on the electrode performance corresponds to an acceleration of the oxygen surface exchange reaction, initially the resistance determining process. For this surface-related resistance, absolute values as low as 0.065 cm2 at 700°C have been obtained. After such an activation, the resistance slowly increases again on a much larger time scale, indicating the possibility of a steady performance enhancement by a periodic activation with short dc pulses. X-ray photoelectron spectra show that a strong cathodic polarization severely changes the cation concentrations within the outermost surface layer of the electrode, and these field-induced surface compositional changes are assumed to be the main cause of the performance improvement.
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