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How To Get Mechanistic Information from Partial Pressure-Dependent Current–Voltage Measurements of Oxygen Exchange on Mixed Conducting Electrodes

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posted on 04.06.2018, 00:00 by Alexander Schmid, Ghislain M. Rupp, Jürgen Fleig
The oxygen incorporation and evolution reaction on mixed conducting electrodes of solid oxide fuel or electrolysis cells involves gas molecules as well as ionic and electronic point defects in the electrode. The defect concentrations depend on the gas phase and can be modified by the overpotential. These interrelationships make a mechanistic analysis of partial pressure-dependent current–voltage experiments challenging. In this contribution it is described how to exploit this complex situation to unravel the kinetic roles of surface adsorbates and electrode point defects. Essential is a counterbalancing of oxygen partial pressure and dc electrode polarization such that the point defect concentrations in the electrode remain constant despite varying the oxygen partial pressure. It is exemplarily shown for La0.6Sr0.4FeO3−δ (LSF) thin film electrodes on yttria-stabilized zirconia how mechanistically relevant reaction orders can be obtained from current–voltage curves, measured in a three-electrode setup. This analysis strongly suggests electron holes as the limiting defect species for the oxygen evolution on LSF and reveals the dependence of the oxygen incorporation rate on the oxygen vacancy concentration. A virtual independence of the reaction rate from the oxygen partial pressure was empirically found for moderate oxygen pressures. This effect, however, arises from a counterbalancing of defect and adsorbate concentration changes.