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1. (WO2007001343) NANOSTRUCTURED FUEL CELL ELECTRODE
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What is claimed is:
1. A fuel cell, comprising:
an electrolyte;
a first electrode; and
a second electrode;
wherein at least the first electrode comprises a nanostructured material.

2. The fuel cell of claim 1 , wherein the nanostructured material comprises at least one of quasi-one dimensional and quasi-two dimensional nanostructured material.

3. The fuel cell of claim 2, wherein the nanostructured material is selected from a group consisting of nanowires, nanotubes, nanorods, nanobelts and nanoribbons.

4. The fuel cell of claim 3, wherein the nanostructured material comprises nanowires.

5. The fuel cell of claim 4, wherein the nanostructured material comprises nickel nanowires.

6. The fuel cell of claim 4, wherein the nanostructured material comprises nickel oxide nanowires.

7. The fuel cell of claim 4, wherein an average diameter of the nanowires is between about 10 and about 300 nm and an average height of the nanowires is between about 0.2 and about 5 microns.

8. The fuel cell of claim 2, wherein the nanostructured material comprises metal oxide nanowires formed on an electrolyte surface and which extend substantially perpendicularly to the electrolyte surface.

9. The fuel cell of claim 2, wherein the fuel cell comprises a solid oxide fuel cell.

10. The fuel cell of claim 9, wherein the nanostructured material is formed on a textured, grooved or nanoporous electrolyte surface.

11. The fuel cell of claim 10, wherein the nanostructured material comprises nano wires formed inside nanopores of a nanopore array in the surface of the electrolyte.

12. The fuel cell of claim 10, wherein the nanostructured material comprises nanowires formed in grooves in a surface of the electrolyte.

13. The fuel cell of claim 1, wherein the first electrode comprises an anode electrode.

14. The fuel cell of claim 1, wherein both the first and the second electrodes comprise nanostructured materials.

15. A solid oxide fuel cell stack comprising a plurality of solid oxide fuel cells of claim 9 separated by a plurality of respective interconnects.

16. A method of forming a plurality of metal nanostructures, comprising:
forming a plurality of metal oxide nanostructures on a substrate; and
annealing the nanostructures in a reducing atmosphere to convert the metal oxide nanostructures to metal nanostructures.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein:
the substrate comprises a fuel cell electrolyte; and
the metal nanostructures comprise a fuel cell electrode.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein:
the nanostructures comprise nanowires; and
the electrode comprises an anode electrode formed on a first surface of the electrolyte.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein:
the metal oxide nanowires comprise nickel oxide nanowires;
the metal nanowires comprise nickel nanowires; and
the fuel cell comprises a solid oxide fuel cell.

20. A method of making metal oxide nanowires, comprising:
providing a mixture of a first metal oxide source material and a second material with a lower melting point than the first metal oxide source material;
sublimating the first and the second materials to provide a nanowire source vapor; and
growing the metal oxide nanowires on a substrate from the source vapor.

21. The method of claim 20, wherein the second material sublimation temperature is lower than the metal oxide nanowire growth temperature, such that the second material evaporates during nanowire growth.

22. The method of claim 21 , wherein:
the metal oxide nanowires comprise zirconium oxide nanowires;
the first source material comprises a zirconium oxide powder; and
the second material comprises a metal or a metal alloy having a melting point temperature of 450 degrees Celsius or less.

23. The method of claim 20, wherein the substrate comprises a solid oxide fuel cell electrolyte.

24. The method of claim 20, wherein the second material comprises a catalyst for metal oxide nanowire growth.

25. The method of claim 20, wherein the second material comprises indium or gallium.

26. A method of making metal oxide nanowires, comprising:
providing an oxygen flux onto a metal substrate to form metal oxide nucleation regions; and
providing additional oxygen flux to the nucleation regions to form the metal oxide nanowires at the nucleation regions.

27. The method of claim 26, wherein the oxygen flux is selected from a group consisting of an oxygen plasma beam, a focused oxygen beam or an electrochemically generated oxygen flux.

28. The method of claim 26, wherein:
the substrate comprises a zirconium containing substrate; and
the metal oxide nanowires comprise zirconium oxide nanowires.