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All-Sputtered, Superior Power Density Thin-Film Solid Oxide Fuel Cells with a Novel Nanofibrous Ceramic Cathode


Thin film solid oxide fuel cells (TF-SOFCs) are attracting attention due to their ability to operate at comparatively lower temperatures (400-650 °C) that are unattainable for conventional anode-supported SOFCs (650-800 °C). However, limited cathode performance and cell scalability remain persistent issues. Here, we report a new approach of fabricating yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ)-based TF-SOFCs via a scalable magnetron sputtering process. Notable is the development and deposition of a porous La0.6Sr0.4Co0.2Fe0.8O2.95(LSCF)-based cathode with a unique fibrous nanostructure. This all-sputtered cell shows an open-circuit voltage of ∼1.0 V and peak power densities of ∼1.7 and ∼2.5 W/cm2 at 600 and 650 °C, respectively, under hydrogen fuel and air along with showing stable performance in short-term testing. The power densities obtained in this work are the highest among YSZ-based SOFCs at these low temperatures, which demonstrate the feasibility of fabricating exceptionally high-performance TF-SOFC cells with distinctive dense or porous nanostructures for each layer, as desired, by a sputtering process. This work illustrates a new, potentially low-cost, and scalable platform for the fabrication of next-generation TF-SOFCs with excellent power output and stability.

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