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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Correlating Surface Crystal Orientation and Gas Kinetics in Perovskite Oxide Electrodes.

  • Author(s): Gao, Ran;
  • Fernandez, Abel;
  • Chakraborty, Tanmoy;
  • Luo, Aileen;
  • Pesquera, David;
  • Das, Sujit;
  • Velarde, Gabriel;
  • Thoréton, Vincent;
  • Kilner, John;
  • Ishihara, Tatsumi;
  • Nemšák, Slavomír;
  • Crumlin, Ethan J;
  • Ertekin, Elif;
  • Martin, Lane W
  • et al.

Solid-gas interactions at electrode surfaces determine the efficiency of solid-oxide fuel cells and electrolyzers. Here, the correlation between surface-gas kinetics and the crystal orientation of perovskite electrodes is studied in the model system La0.8 Sr0.2 Co0.2 Fe0.8 O3 . The gas-exchange kinetics are characterized by synthesizing epitaxial half-cell geometries where three single-variant surfaces are produced [i.e., La0.8 Sr0.2 Co0.2 Fe0.8 O3 /La0.9 Sr0.1 Ga0.95 Mg0.05 O3-δ /SrRuO3 /SrTiO3 (001), (110), and (111)]. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and electrical conductivity relaxation measurements reveal a strong surface-orientation dependency of the gas-exchange kinetics, wherein (111)-oriented surfaces exhibit an activity >3-times higher as compared to (001)-oriented surfaces. Oxygen partial pressure ( pO2 )-dependent electrochemical impedance spectroscopy studies reveal that while the three surfaces have different gas-exchange kinetics, the reaction mechanisms and rate-limiting steps are the same (i.e., charge-transfer to the diatomic oxygen species). First-principles calculations suggest that the formation energy of vacancies and adsorption at the various surfaces is different and influenced by the surface polarity. Finally, synchrotron-based, ambient-pressure X-ray spectroscopies reveal distinct electronic changes and surface chemistry among the different surface orientations. Taken together, thin-film epitaxy provides an efficient approach to control and understand the electrode reactivity ultimately demonstrating that the (111)-surface exhibits a high density of active surface sites which leads to higher activity.

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