2, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing, , China
3, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing, , China
Since the milestone of bubbles management at 1776, when the steam engine was produced by James Watt, this area has been considerably extended, and many industrial practices got involved, including drinks (e.g. carbonated beverages), petro-chemical industry (e.g. expanded plastic) and glass-making. Electrolysis and fuel cells, which consume or generate electric power, and generate or consume gases at the same time, are also important gas-involved procedures. To improve the reaction rate, tremendous efforts have been devoted to novel catalysts design for low onset potential, high surface, while bubble management is of much less attention.
In previous investigation, we have been engaged in tailoring the interfacial wettability to control the detachment/bursting of bubble on electrode, to promote the gas evolution/consumption reactions and concepts like superaerophobicity or superaerophilicity have been developed. However, to design better nano-electrodes, deeper insights into the bubble behavior on eletrodes are critical which demands advanced in situ monitoring techniques. Since the bubble generation/consumption usually happens at interface of solid (electrode) and liquid (electrolyte), where three-phase (vapor, liquid and solid) coexist, only high-speed camera and atomic force microscope (AFM) are applied and only top-view or side-view can be acchieved. To get multi-scale observation (from nm to mm), it is highly appealing to obtain the whole information of bubble behavior and besides primary parameters including diameter, volume and contact angle, etc.
Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) techniques are widely use in biological binding/recognition investigations, which is sensitive down to molecule scale. Due to the excellent electric conductivity of gold film substrate and the high sensitivity to the charge density, we develop SPR technique to a powerful “view-from-bottom” label-free method to study interfacial electrochemical reactions, especially bubble-involved electro-catalysis. We show here some advances of utilizing SPR to invest the bubble behavior at the “bottom” (the interface of electrode and electrolyte) in our group.
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