Ionic current in proton-conducting polycrystalline ceramics is often hampered a great deal by the grain boundaries, limiting their prospective applications as solid electrolytes for next-generation solid oxide fuel cells. To elucidate the conduction mechanism at the grain boundaries, we use a linear diffusion model and impedance spectroscopy to report complete current-voltage (I-V) characteristics of the grain boundaries in 0.5 mol % Sr-doped LaNbO 4 . We provide the first experimental evidence of complete annihilation of the space charge-induced proton depletion at the grain boundaries upon applying moderate bias voltages. We also show that it is possible to distinguish between the grain boundary resistance caused by the space charge and other sources by analyzing the I-V characteristics. The analysis is equally valid for other solid ionic conductors such that it can serve as an important tool to guide further optimization of the conductivity of polycrystalline solid electrolytes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films