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Nano-patterning of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Electrolytes

A team of Stanford engineers have developed a low-cost easy to fabricate membrane electrode assembly (MEA) that is nano-patterned to increase electrode reaction surface area in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). These electrolytes are created with nano-sphere lithography techniques that eliminate the need for photo-lithography intensive steps. The resulting MEA has a thin electrolyte layer shaped into 3-D close-packed hexagonal pyramid arrays. This architecture reduces ohmic loss for better performance at operating temperature between 400-500oC. The nanostructured YSZ electrolyte layer (~170nm) is coated with porous Pt for a total area enhancement factor of 1.5-2x. Applications: Solid oxide fuel cells

Benefits:

1) Streamlined fabrication - nano-sphere lithography process so there is no need to use photo-lithography intensive steps 2) Improved performance - nanostructure architecture reduces ohmic loss 3) Lower operating temperature than traditional SOFC (power density of 0.36W/cm2 at 400oC and 1.34 W/cm2 at 500oC)

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