Research group: Functional ceramics for solid oxide fuel cells and solid oxide electrolyser cells

Head: Edith Bucher

Hot Topics

Mixed ionic-electronic conduc­ting rare earth/alkaline earth transition metal oxides may play an important role in future energy systems. Applications include electrodes for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) or solid oxide electrolyser cells (SOECs), oxygen permeable membranes, catalysts, and electrochemical sensors.


The oxygen surface exchange kinetics of these materials is determined by the chemical composition of the surface, which may deviate significantly from the bulk composition. These differences are due to equilibrium effects or mechanical driving forces. The presence of critical reactants in the gas phase may represent an additional strong driving force for cation segregation effects and surface restructuring, leading to the formation of inactive phases in the near-surface region.


Synthesis of novel functional oxides and comprehensive characterization of material properties.

New insights in relation of surface exchange kinetics of mixed ionic-electronic conducting rare earth/alkaline earth transitions metal oxides

Deeper understanding of structure-property relations of complex oxides to obtain guidelines on design of materials with optimized surface exchange and transport properties.

Design of new mixed ionic-electronic conducting oxides, which overcome current limitations imposed by insufficient activity and/or stability, is among the most fascinating tasks in the field of solid-state chemistry. Therefore, special emphasis is on synthesis and careful characterization regarding the complex interplay of a variety of parameters (crystal- and microstructure, defect chemistry, thermodynamics, kinetics, mass and charge transport properties, etc.).

Group Leader

Edith Bucher

Edith Bucher is Associate Professor at the Chair of Physical Chemistry at Montanuniverstitaet Leoben and has been working on the development of new materials for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and solid oxide electrolyzer cells (SOECs) since 2000. She has been involved in the synthesis, characterization and optimization of mixed ionic-electronic conducting oxides and developed the methodology for the investigation of fundamental mass and charge transport properties. Since 2008, Edith Bucher's special research focus has been the development of long-term stable and high performance SOFCs, SOECs and RSOCs, which are expected to drive the broad market introduction of these highly efficient and sustainable energy technologies.

Since 2013, Edith Bucher is head of the research group "Functional ceramics for solid oxide fuel cells and solid oxide electrolyser cells". In cooperation with national and international research partners, fundamental questions concerning the material design, mass and charge transport properties, electrochemistry, and the detailed aging mechanisms of SOFCs/SOECs are being addressed. The know-how gained is incorporated into application-oriented research within the framework of funded projects in cooperation with scientific partners and industrial partners. The high visibility of the research in the scientific community is evidenced by more than 50 publications in international peer-reviewed journals and a high number of citations.