Depth probing of the hydride formation process in thin Pd films by combined electrochemistry and fiber optics-based in situ UV/vis spectroscopy†
We demonstrate a flexible combined electrochemistry and fiber optics-based in situ UV/vis spectroscopy setup to gain insight into the depth evolution of electrochemical hydride and oxide formation in Pd films with thicknesses of 20 and 100 nm. The thicknesses of our model systems are chosen such that the films are thinner or significantly thicker than the optical skin depth of Pd to create two distinctly different situations. Low power white light is irradiated on the sample and analyzed in three different configurations; transmittance through, and, reflectance from the front and the back side of the film. The obtained optical sensitivities correspond to fractions of a monolayer of adsorbed or absorbed hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) on Pd. Moreover, a combined simultaneous readout obtained from the different optical measurement configurations provides mechanistic insights into the depth-evolution of the studied hydrogenation and oxidation processes.