A porous composite electrode LSM–YSZ (lanthanum strontium manganite and yttria stabilized zirconia) was impregnated with different amounts of SDC (samarium substituted ceria) nanoparticles. The materials were investigated with X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to determine the microstructure, the interface chemistry and the surface chemistry of the various impregnated samples. The SDC nanoparticles cover the surface of the LSM–YSZ backbone to a large extent; they are approximately 5–20 nm in diameter and have a cubic crystal structure. Low concentrations of lanthanum and manganese originating from LSM were detected within SDC particles. It was also observed that the relative atomic concentration of strontium increased on the LSM–YSZ surface with increasing amount of SDC nanoparticles. These findings are related to the applied nanoparticle impregnation method. It is indicated that interactions between surfactant, nanoparticles, impregnation solution and the LSM–YSZ composite take place which can locally affect the surface and interface chemistry of the investigated materials.
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