Surface strontium enrichment on highly active perovskites for oxygen electrocatalysis in solid oxide fuel cells

Ethan J. Crumlin, Eva Mutoro, Zhi Liu, Michael E. Grass, Michael D. Biegalski, Yueh-Lin Lee, Dane Morgan, Hans M. Christen, Hendrik Bluhm, Yang Shao-Horn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

325 Scopus citations


Perovskite oxides have high catalytic activities for oxygen electrocatalysis competitive to platinum at elevated temperatures. However, little is known about the oxide surface chemistry that influences the activity near ambient oxygen partial pressures, which hampers the design of highly active catalysts for many clean-energy technologies such as solid oxide fuel cells. Using in situ synchrotron-based, ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to study the surface chemistry changes, we show that the coverage of surface secondary phases on a (001)-oriented La 0.8Sr 0.2CoO 3-δ (LSC) film becomes smaller than that on an LSC powder pellet at elevated temperatures. In addition, strontium (Sr) in the perovskite structure enriches towards the film surface in contrast to the pellet having no detectable changes with increasing temperature. We propose that the ability to reduce surface secondary phases and develop Sr-enriched perovskite surfaces of the LSC film contributes to its enhanced activity for O 2 electrocatalysis relative to LSC powder-based electrodes. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6081
JournalEnergy & Environmental Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was supported in part by DOE (SISGR DE-SC0002633) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. E. Mutoro is grateful for financial support from the German Research Foundation (DFG research scholarship). The authors like to thank the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dharam, Saudi Arabia, for funding the research reported in this paper through the Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at MIT and KFUPM. The Advanced Light Source is supported by the Director, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, of the U.S. Department of Energy under contract no. DE-AC02-05CH11231. The PLD preparation performed was conducted at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, which is sponsored at Oak Ridge National Laboratory by the Scientific User Facilities Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, U.S. Department of Energy. Work at the University of Wisconsin gratefully acknowledges financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering under award number DE-SC0001284.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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