Nowadays, the global climatic change makes necessary to develop renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuel supplies. The shortage of energy resources and the need to reduce pollutant emission gases, involves the development of new clean energy sources and using existing resources more efficiently. Fuel cells can contribute to this aim. It’s important to motivate students to these areas, so that, they can understand the importance of Chemistry and the material science in our society. The field of fuel cells offers an area where students may be motivated to learn these sciences.

Stabilized zirconia is the usual material for use in solid oxide fuel cells, where this material acts as an oxygen ion conductor. Other important application of this material is in the detection of oxygen, where it is used in oxygen sensors. One of the most common applications of these sensors is to measure the exhaust gas concentration of oxygen for internal combustion engines in automobiles and other vehicles, commonly know as lambda sensor. Lambda probes are used to reduce vehicle emissions by ensuring that engines burn their fuel efficiently and cleanly.

In this work, we propose an example for understanding these technologies based on the components of a lambda probe, including the chemistry that is involved in these types of devices and two common characterization techniques in solid state chemistry, X-ray Diffraction and Electronic Microscopy. Moreover, we show the synthesis of this material in the lab using two different methodologies: solid state reaction and sol-gel process. It allows the students to know the steps used in solid state chemistry to prepare a material. This work can be interesting for general public, teachers of inorganic chemistry and material science and undergraduate students owing to its pedagogical character.