Electrochemistry at nanoporous interfaces: new opportunity for electrocatalysis
Physical and electrochemical features of nanoporous electrodes arising from their morphology are presented in this perspective. Although nanoporous electrodes have been used to enhance electrocatalysis for several decades, the origin of their capability was understood on the basis of enlarged surface area or crystalline facet. However, considerable attention should be paid to the fact that nano-confined space of nanoporous electrodes can significantly affect electrochemical efficiency. Molecular dynamics in nano-confined spaces is capable of offering much more chances of interaction between a redox molecule and an electrode surface. The mass transport in the nanoporous electrode depends on various pore characteristics such as size, shape, charge, connectivity, and symmetry as well as molecular properties such as size, charge, and kinetics. Moreover, when the pore size is comparable to the thickness of an electric double layer (EDL), the EDLs overlap in the porous structure so that electrochemically effective surface area is not the same as that of the real electrode surface. These unique properties come from simply nanoporous structure and suggest new opportunity to innovative electrocatalysts in the future.