MSE Colloquium - Prof. Harry L. Tuller, M.I.T.
Date: November 16, 2012 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm EST
Location: Room 214, S. W. Mudd
Contact: For further information regarding this event, please contact Wesley Hattan by sending email to or by calling 2128547860.
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Thin Film Solid State Ionics: 

Opportunities, Challenges and New Developments


Harry L. Tuller

Department of Materials Science and Engineering,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Cambridge, MA 02139, USA


The field of Solid State Ionics, dealing with materials exhibiting significant ionic or mass transport under electrical or chemical potential gradients, is receiving a great deal of attention, given the needs for improved energy storage and conversion devices and robust environmental monitoring devices.  While the large majority of attention has been focused on bulk oxide materials that make up key components of lithium ion batteries, solid oxide fuel cells, oxygen permeation membranes and automotive emission sensors, there is a growing trend towards the study and applications of thin film solid state ionic materials. 

As with solid state electronics, thin films offer opportunities for miniaturization, improved reproducibility and spatial and orientation control. The use of thin films further provides the opportunity to delve more deeply into the operating principles of these devices.  We report on advances made within our laboratory in achieving improved insights into the defect, transport and electrocatalytic properties of films of interest in solid oxide fuel cell cathodes, membranes and automotive catalysts by taking advantage of controlled morphology and geometry of thin films including the use of oxide superlattices and the application of in-situ analytical tools including scanning tunneling microscopy, impedance spectroscopy and x-ray photoemission spectroscopy.