Ni-CeO2 Cermets Synthesis by Solid State Sintering of Ni/CeO2 Multilayer
Nickel and gadolinium doped cerium oxide (GDC) cermet is intensively investigated for an application as an anode material for solid oxide fuel cells based on various electrolytes. The purpose of the present investigation is to analyze morphology, microstructure, and optical properties of deposited and annealed for one hour in the temperatures from 500ºC to 900ºC Ni/CeO2 multilayer thin films deposited by sputtering. The crystallographic structure of thin films was investigated by X-ray diffraction. The morphology of the film cross-section was investigated with scanning electron microscope. The elemental analysis of samples was investigated by energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The fitting of the optical reflectance data was made using Abeles matrix method that is used for the design of interference coatings.
The film cross-section of the post-annealed samples consisted of four layers. The first CeO2 layer (on Si) had the same fine columnar structure with no features of Ni intermixing. The part of Ni (middle-layer) after annealing was converted to NiO with grain size exceeding 100 nm. The CeO2 layer deposited on Ni was divided into two layers. Lower layer had small grains not exceeding 25 nm and consisting of NiO and CeO2 mixture. Upper layer consisted of CeO2 columns with approximate thickness of 50 nm. Ni sample annealed at 600ºC was fully oxidized. The NiO thickness and refraction index were almost steady after annealing in various temperatures. The approximation of experimental reflectance data was successful only for the samples with one transparent homogeneous layer. The reflectance of the Ni/CeO2 samples annealed at intermediate temperatures could not be fitted using one-layer or three-layer model. That may show that a simplified model could not be implemented. The real system has complicated distribution of refraction index.
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