The promise of antireflective gold electrodes for optically monitoring the electro-deposition of single silver nanoparticles
The interest in nano-objects has recently dramatically increased in all fields of science, and electrochemistry is no exception. As a consequence, in situ and operando visualization of electrochemical processes is needed at the nanoscale. Herein, we propose a new interferometric microscopy based on an antireflective thin metal electrode layer. The technique is coupled to electrochemistry in a model example: the electro-deposition of Ag metallic nanoparticles (NPs). This challenges the current opto-electrochemical methods and even those relying on nano-impact detection. Indeed, the sensitivity allows the dynamic in situ visualization of the electrochemical growth and dissolution of individual Ag NPs, whose size was tracked dynamically down to 15 nm in diameter. The use of microelectrodes provides interesting quantitative analysis of the NPs, from optically resolved arrays of single NPs to condensed arrays of (unresolved) NPs. Particularly, the optical analysis of all the individual NPs allows the reconstruction of optical voltammograms similar to the electrochemical ones. Finally, the NP dissolution–redeposition is also investigated.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Electrochemistry at nano-interfaces