In operando X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy studies of H2 oxidation and H2O electrolysis on gadolinia-doped ceria electrodes
Journal of Physics: Energy
In operando, ambient-pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (AP-XPS) has been used to evaluate surface states of gadolinia-doped ceria (GDC) thin-film electrodes during H 2 oxidation and H 2 O electrolysis, on yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ)-supported solid oxide electrochemical cells (SOCs). Porous nickel (Ni) and gold (Au) overlayers deposited on separate GDC thin films served as current collectors and potential electrocatalysts to facilitate heterogeneous chemistry for H 2 oxidation or H
... 2 O electrolysis. Electrochemical characterization of the GDC thin-film electrodes complemented in operando XPS measurements of the O 1s spectra to correlate electrochemical overpotentials with surface chemistry near the Ni/GDC and Au/GDC interfaces. Shifts in O 1s binding energies across the metal/GDC/YSZ interfaces signified changes of local surface potential and provided a means of estimating kinetic parameters associated with charge transfer reactions. Effective oxygen partial pressure and surface potential impacted oxide vacancy and ceria polaron concentrations in the GDC, resulting in different reactivities of the GDC under the tested conditions. Both the Ni/GDC and Au/GDC demonstrated much higher currents for H 2 O electrolysis vs. H 2 oxidation for comparable metal/GDC overpotentials due to increased electronic conductivity of the GDC under positive potentials and associated spreading of the electrochemically active region away from the triple-phase boundary. Higher electrochemical activity of the Ni/GDC electrode is attributed to the increased H 2 activation on Ni in promoting charge transfer reactions (particularly for H 2 oxidation). These results provide a basis for developing more informed reaction mechanisms for both H 2 oxidation and H 2 O electrolysis of GDC-based composite electrodes in SOCs.