Navigation Links
ORNL researchers analyze material with 'colossal ionic conductivity'

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., July 31, 2008 A new material characterized at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory could open a pathway toward more efficient fuel cells.

The material, a super-lattice developed by researchers in Spain, improves ionic conductivity near room temperature by a factor of almost 100 million, representing "a colossal increase in ionic conduction properties," said Maria Varela of ORNL's Materials Science and Technology Division, who characterized the material's structure with senior researcher Stephen Pennycook.

The analysis was done with ORNL's 300 kilovolt Z-contrast scanning transmission electron microscope, which can achieve aberration-corrected resolutions near 0.6 angstrom, until recently a world record. The direct images show the crystal structure that accounts for the material's conductivity.

"It is amazing," Varela said. "We can see the strained, yet still ordered, interface structure that opens up a wide pathway for ions to be conducted."

Solid oxide fuel cell technology requires ion-conducting materials -- solid electrolytes -- that allow oxygen ions to travel from cathode to anode. However, existing materials have not provided atom-scale voids large enough to easily accommodate the path of a conducted ion, which is much bigger than, for example, an electron.

"The new layered material solves this problem by combining two materials with very different crystal structures. The mismatch triggers a distortion of the atomic arrangement at their interface and creates a pathway through which ions can easily travel," Varela said.

Other fuel cell materials force ions to travel through tight pathways with few spaces for the ions to occupy, slowing their progress. Rather than forcing the ions to jump from hole to hole, the new material has "lots of vacant spaces to be occupied," said Varela, so the ions can travel much more quickly.

Unlike previous fuel cell materials, which have to achieve high temperatures to conduct ions, the new material maintains ionic conductivity near room temperatures. High temperatures have been a major roadblock for developers of fuel cell technology.

The research team with Spain's Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Universidad Politcnica de Madrid produced the material and observed its outstanding conductivity properties, but the structural characteristics that enable the material to conduct ions so well were not known until the material was put under the ultra-high resolution microscopes at ORNL.


Contact: Sarah Wright
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. UNH researchers tag first-ever free-swimming leatherback turtles in New England
2. FSU, Magnet Lab researchers license critical petroleum data
3. Caltech researchers find dual-use sexual attraction and population-control chemicals in nematodes
4. Tel Aviv University researchers root out new and efficient crop plants
5. Dartmouth researchers identify an important gene for a healthy, nutritious plant
6. Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researchers receive $10.8 million
7. UCSF researchers identify virus behind mysterious parrot disease
8. Researchers discover cells quality control mechanism
9. Researchers analyze how new anti-MRSA abtibiotics function
10. Researchers tap into a new and potentially better source of platelets for transfusion
11. CMV infections affect more than just patients with compromised immune systems, researchers find
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/7/2016)... 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio Credit ... includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" solution ... will result in greater convenience for SACU members ... maintaining existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
(Date:6/2/2016)...   The Weather Company , an IBM Business (NYSE: ... capability in which consumers will be able to interact with ... via voice or text and receive relevant information about the ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that can create ... relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions of interactions ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016 Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing ...  3D medical LCD display is the latest premium product recently added to the range ... ... ... Sony 3d Imaging- LCD Medical Display- Ampronix News ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... bring innovative medical technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare market. The company's ... of various distribution, manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are necessary to help ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Epic Sciences unveiled a liquid biopsy ... PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) ... test has already been incorporated into numerous clinical ... Over 230 clinical trials are investigating ... PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. Drugs targeting ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , ... compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced ... granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food ... gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin ... to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to ... faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: