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Dense zig-zag microstructures in YSZ thin films by pulsed laser deposition
3.I. Garbayo, A. Tarancón, J. Santiso, F. Peiró, E. Alarcón-Lladó, A. Cavallaro, I. Gràcia, C. Cané, and N. Sabaté, Solid State Ionics 181(5–7), 322-331 (2010).
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The very brittle oxygen ion conductor yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) is a typical solid electrolyte for miniaturized thin film
fuel cells. In order to decrease the fuel cell operating temperature, the thickness of yttria stabilized zirconia thin films is reduced. Often, these thin membranes suffer from mechanical failure and gas permeability. To improve these mechanical issues, a glancing angle deposition approach is used to grow yttria stabilized zirconia thin films with tilted columnar structures. Changes of the material flux direction during the deposition result in a dense, zigzag-like structure with columnar crystallites. This structure reduces the elastic modulus of these membranes as compared to columnar yttria stabilized zirconia thin films as monitored by nano-indentation which makes them more adaptable to applied stress.
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