Investigations of gas/electrode interactions in solid oxide fuel cells using vibrational spectroscopy
Abernathy, Harry Wilson, III
MetadataShow full item record
The goal of current solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) research is to design electrode materials and other system components that permit the fuel cell to be operated in the 400-700ºC range. Cell performance in this lower temperature range is limited by the oxygen reduction process at the SOFC cathode and by multiple contamination processes. The work presented demonstrates that Raman spectroscopy, a form of vibrational spectroscopy, can provide structural and compositional information complementary to that from traditional characterization methods. Initial experiments into the oxygen reduction mechanism on SOFC cathodes were unable to detect surface oxygen species on selected perovksite-based SOFC cathode materials. However, the Raman signal from the cathode surface was able to be enhanced by depositing silver or gold nanoparticles on the cathode, creating the so-called surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) effect. The Raman sample chamber was also used to study two possible electrode contamination processes. First, the deposition of carbon on nickel and copper anodes was observed when exposed to different hydrocarbon fuel gases. Second, the poisoning of an SOFC cathode by chromium-containing vapor (usually generated by stainless steel SOFC system components) was monitored. Overall, Raman spectroscopy was shown to be useful in many areas crucial to the development of practical, cost-effective SOFCs. The techniques developed here could also be applied to other high temperature electrochemical and catalytic systems.