The decrease in the polarization resistance of the anode of solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) due to the formation of an additional NiO/(ZrO2 + 10 mol % Y2O3) (YSZ) functional layer was studied. NiO/YSZ films with different NiO contents were deposited by reactive magnetron sputtering of Ni and Zr–Y targets. The elemental and phase composition of the films was adjusted by regulating oxygen flow rate during the sputtering. The resulting films were studied by scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffractometry. Comparative tests of planar SOFCs with a NiO/YSZ anode support, NiO/YSZ functional nanostructured anode layer, YSZ electrolyte, and La0.6Sr0.4Co0.2Fe0.8O3/Ce0.9Gd0.1O2 (LSCF/CGO) cathode were performed. It was shown that the formation of a NiO/YSZ functional nanostructured anode leads to a 15–25% increase in the maximum power density of fuel cells in the working temperature range 500–800°C. The NiO/YSZ nanostructured anode layers lead not only to a reduction of the polarization resistance of the anode, but also to the formation of denser electrolyte films during subsequent magnetron sputtering of electrolyte.
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