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Issue 29, 2016
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The Atomic scale structure of liquid metal–electrolyte interfaces

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Abstract

Electrochemical interfaces between immiscible liquids have lately received renewed interest, both for gaining fundamental insight as well as for applications in nanomaterial synthesis. In this feature article we demonstrate that the atomic scale structure of these previously inaccessible interfaces nowadays can be explored by in situ synchrotron based X-ray scattering techniques. Exemplary studies of a prototypical electrochemical system – a liquid mercury electrode in pure NaCl solution – reveal that the liquid metal is terminated by a well-defined atomic layer. This layering decays on length scales of 0.5 nm into the Hg bulk and displays a potential and temperature dependent behaviour that can be explained by electrocapillary effects and contributions of the electronic charge distribution on the electrode. In similar studies of nanomaterial growth, performed for the electrochemical deposition of PbFBr, a complex nucleation and growth behaviour is found, involving a crystalline precursor layer prior to the 3D crystal growth. Operando X-ray scattering measurements provide detailed data on the processes of nanoscale film formation.

Graphical abstract: The Atomic scale structure of liquid metal–electrolyte interfaces

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Article information


Submitted
24 Feb 2016
Accepted
31 Mar 2016
First published
12 May 2016

This article is Open Access

Nanoscale, 2016,8, 13859-13866
Article type
Feature Article
Author version available

The Atomic scale structure of liquid metal–electrolyte interfaces

B. M. Murphy, S. Festersen and O. M. Magnussen, Nanoscale, 2016, 8, 13859
DOI: 10.1039/C6NR01571A

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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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