Crystallization of amorphous ceria solid solutions

Jennifer L.M. Rupp, C. Solenthaler, P. Gasser, U. P. Muecke, Ludwig J. Gauckler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Next-generation micro-solid oxide fuel cells for portable devices require nanocrystalline thin film electrolytes in order to allow fuel cell fabrication on chips at low operating temperatures and with high fuel cell power outputs. In this study amorphous gadolinia-doped ceria (Ce0.8Gd0.2O1.9-x) thin film electrolytes were fabricated by spray pyrolysis and their crystallization to nanocrystalline microstructures was investigated by means of X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. At temperatures higher than 500 °C the amorphous films crystallize to a biphasic ceramic that is amorphous and nanocrystalline. The driving force for the crystallization is the reduction of the free enthalpy resulting from the transformation of amorphous into crystalline material. Self-limited grain growth kinetics prevail for the nanocrystalline grains where stable microstructures are established after short dwell times. A transition to classical curvature-driven grain growth kinetics occurs when the fully crystalline state is reached for average grain sizes larger than 140 nm and annealing temperatures higher than 1100 °C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3505-3512
Number of pages8
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Ceramics
  • Ceria
  • Crystallization
  • Grain growth
  • Thin films


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