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Materials  2010 

STM, SECPM, AFM and Electrochemistry on Single Crystalline Surfaces

DOI: 10.3390/ma3084196

Keywords: STM, SECPM, AFM, single crystalline surfaces, electrochemistry, electrocatalysis

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Abstract:

Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) techniques have had a great impact on research fields of surface science and nanotechnology during the last decades. They are used to investigate surfaces with scanning ranges between several 100 mm down to atomic resolution. Depending on experimental conditions, and the interaction forces between probe and sample, different SPM techniques allow mapping of different surface properties. In this work, scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) in air and under electrochemical conditions (EC-STM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) in air and scanning electrochemical potential microscopy (SECPM) under electrochemical conditions, were used to study different single crystalline surfaces in electrochemistry. Especially SECPM offers potentially new insights into the solid-liquid interface by providing the possibility to image the potential distribution of the surface, with a resolution that is comparable to STM. In electrocatalysis, nanostructured catalysts supported on different electrode materials often show behavior different from their bulk electrodes. This was experimentally and theoretically shown for several combinations and recently on Pt on Au(111) towards fuel cell relevant reactions. For these investigations single crystals often provide accurate and well defined reference and support systems. We will show heteroepitaxially grown Ru, Ir and Rh single crystalline surface films and bulk Au single crystals with different orientations under electrochemical conditions. Image studies from all three different SPM methods will be presented and compared to electrochemical data obtained by cyclic voltammetry in acidic media. The quality of the single crystalline supports will be verified by the SPM images and the cyclic voltammograms. Furthermore, an outlook will be presented on how such supports can be used in electrocatalytic studies.

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