3D Tomography of solid oxide fuel cells

This project was part of my Ph.D. research while at the University of Maryland. It focused on analyzing the impacts of degradation mechanisms on solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) cathodes. Degradation of the cathode layer is one of the primary means of failure for SOFC devices, so understanding this process is critical for improving the resiliency of SOFC designs. This project was a collaboration with Professor Eric Wachsman’s research group, and involved performing three-dimensional nanotomography on the cathode samples using a FIB/SEM before and after their operation in adverse chemical environments. This process involves using the ion beam to mill extremely thin layers off of a sample (on the order of 10–20 nm), taking an image of the cut surface with the SEM after every slice. After the experiment, these 2D images are reconstructed into a 3D volume, which is then probed for various microstructural parameters.

Some highlights of the project:

  • Used FIB-SEM 3D tomography methods to reconstruct and probe SOFC cathode microstructures
  • Developed innovative image processing and microstructure quantification routines using Python and Avizo
  • Quantified changes in SOFC cathode structures as a function of H2O, CO2, and Cr-vapor exposure
Joshua Taillon
Materials Data Scientist

A materials research scientist at NIST interested in scientific data curation, AI for materials research, and baking bread.

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