Transient electrochemistry: beyond simply temporal resolution
Some physicochemical intrigues for which transient electrochemistry was necessary to solve the problem are summarized in this feature article. First, we highlight the main constraints to be aware of to access to low time scales, and particularly focus on the effects of stray capacitances. Then, the electron transfer rate constant measured for redox molecules in a self-assembled monolayer configuration is compared to the conductance measured through the same systems, but at the single molecule level. This evidences strong conformational changes when molecules are trapped in the nanogap created between both electrodes. We also report about dendrimers, for which a short electrochemical perturbation induces creation of a diffusion layer within the molecule, allowing the electron hopping rate to be measured and analyzed in terms of molecular motions of the redox centers. Finally, we show that transient electrochemistry provides also useful information when coupled to other methodologies. For example, when an ultrasonic field drives very fast movements of a bubble situated above the electrode surface, the motion can be detected indirectly through a modification of the diffusion flux. Another field concerns pulse radiolysis, and we describe how the reactivity (at the electrode or within the solution) of radicals created by a radiolytic pulse can be quantified, widening the possibilities of electrochemistry to operate in biological media.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Commemorating Michael Faraday (1791-1867)