Date of Award

Winter 12-7-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

MS Physics




Alper Sahiner, PhD

Committee Member

Stephen Kelty, PhD

Committee Member

Weining Wang,PhD


Fuel Cell, Electrolyte, SIMS, Zirconium Oxide


Fuel Cells using solid oxides for the electrolyte material, or Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs), can operate at high temperatures and have many benefits when compared to other electrolyte material-based fuel cells. SOFCs can, however still have problems when operating at these high temperatures. (~1,000 degrees Celsius) At high temperatures, the SOFC electrolyte resistivity goes up making the ionic conductivity decrease and therefore a loss of performance. The inclusion of low level Yttria to Zirconium Oxide (the electrolyte material) has been known to help reduce the resistivity at high operating temperatures. In this study, a series of Yttria stabilized Zirconium Oxide thin films were grown by Pulsed Laser Deposition. The same series of films was deposited on Silicon, Zirconium and Alumina (Al2O3) substrates. Here, we will scrutinize these thin films using Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy or SIMS. SIMS is a depth profiling technique that is commonly used in materials characterization in the form of process monitoring, research and development or troubleshooting. We will be evaluating the compositions, film thicknesses, surface roughness, contamination and growth interfaces of these films, as well as correlating the SIMS data to the previous electrical measurements performed on these thin films.

Included in

Physics Commons