Science published “Proton transport enabled by a field-induced metallic state in a semiconductor heterostructure” on July 10. Associate Professor WU Yan from the School of Materials Science and Chemistry is the first author, Prof. ZHU Bin and Associate Research Fellow SONG Huaibing are the corresponding authors. This is an original research achievement of Chinese scientists in the field of energy.
Tuning a semiconductor to function as a fast proton conductor is an emerging strategy in the rapidly developing field of proton ceramic fuel cells (PCFCs). The key challenge for PCFC researchers is to formulate the proton-conducting electrolyte with conductivity above 0.1 siemens per centimeter at low temperatures (300 to 600°C). Here we present a methodology to design an enhanced proton conductor by means of a NaxCoO2/CeO2 semiconductor heterostructure, in which a field-induced metallic state at the interface accelerates proton transport. We developed a PCFC with an ionic conductivity of 0.30 siemens per centimeter and a power output of 1 watt per square centimeter at 520°C. Through our semiconductor heterostructure approach, our results provide insight into the proton transport mechanism, which may also improve ionic transport in other energy applications.
The research team of fuel cells