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Research Highlight | Center for Nanoscale Materials

Visualizing anisotropic oxygen diffusion in ceria

In a study published in Physical Review Letters, researchers investigate materials used for fuel cell catalysis.

Scientific Achievement

Anisotropic oxygen atom diffusion was visualized in ceria under activated conditions; the diffusion was dependent upon crystal orientation, demonstrating a preferential [001] diffusion pathway.

Significance and Impact

Oxygen reactivity plays a key role in the performance of ceria-based catalysts of interest for photocatalytic water splitting for hydrogen production and solid-oxide fuel cells for energy storage.

Research Details

  • The interplay between Ce and O atoms originates from Coulombic interactions as revealed by the out-of-plane buckling of cerium atoms associated with oxygen transport. 
  • Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) electron microscopy capabilities included the Argonne Chromatic Aberration-corrected TEM (ACAT) and Talos TEM

Work was performed in part at CNM.


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About Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials
The Center for Nanoscale Materials is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers, premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale supported by the DOE Office of Science. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE’s Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit https://​sci​ence​.osti​.gov/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​/​U​s​e​r​-​F​a​c​i​l​i​t​i​e​s​-​a​t​-​a​-​G​lance.

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