Characterizing electrochemical energy conversion devices during operation is an important strategy for correlating device performance with the properties of cell materials under real operating conditions. While operando characterization has been used extensively for low temperature electrochemical cells, these techniques remain challenging for solid oxide electrochemical cells due to the high temperatures and reactive gas atmospheres these cells require. Operando X-ray diffraction measurements of solid oxide electrochemical cells could detect changes in the crystal structure of the cell materials, which can be useful for understanding degradation process that limit device lifetimes, but the experimental capability to perform operando X-ray diffraction on the fuel electrodes of these cells has not been demonstrated. Here we present the first experimental apparatus capable of performing X-ray diffraction measurements on the fuel electrodes of high temperature solid oxide electrochemical cells during operation under reducing gas atmospheres. We present data from an example experiment with a model solid oxide cell to demonstrate that this apparatus can collect X-ray diffraction patterns during electrochemical cell operation at high temperatures in humidified H 2 gas. Measurements performed using this apparatus can reveal new insights about solid oxide fuel cell and solid oxide electrolyzer cell degradation mechanisms to enable the design of durable, high performance devices.
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