ACS Sens 2020 Jun 8. Epub 2020 Jun 8.
Key Lab of Science and Technology of Eco-Textile, Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Donghua University, Shanghai, 201620, China.
Electrolytic gas evolution is a significant phenomenon in many electrochemical technologies from water splitting, chloralkali process to fuel cells. Although it is known that gas evolution may substantially affect the ohmic resistance and mass transfer, studies focusing on the electrochemistry of individual bubbles are critical but also challenging. Here, we report an approach using scanning electrochemical cell microscopy (SECCM) with a single channel pipet to quantitatively study individual gas bubble nucleation on different electrode substrates, including conventional polycrystalline Pt and Au films, as well as the most interesting two-dimensional semiconductor MoS. Due to the confinement effect of the pipet, well-defined peak-shaped voltammetric features associated with single bubble nucleation and growth are consistently observed. From stochastic bubble nucleation measurement and finite element simulation, the surface H concentration corresponding to bubble nucleation is estimated to be ∼218, 137, and 157 mM, with critical nuclei contact angles of ∼156°, ∼161°, and ∼160° at polycrystalline Pt, Au, and MoS substrates, respectively. We further demonstrated the surface faceting at polycrystalline Pt is not specifically correlated with the bubble nucleation behavior.