Decamethylferrocene redox chemistry and gold nanowire electrodeposition at salt crystal|electrode|nonpolar organic solvent contacts

John D Watkins, C E Hotchen, John M Mitchels, Frank Marken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This report describes exploratory experimental findings for electrochemical processes in nonpolar solvents (hexane, toluene, and dichloroethane). Conventional 3 mm diameter glassy-carbon-disk electrodes are used in contact with a crystalline salt electrolyte (ammonium nitrate) immersed in nonpolar solvents. The insoluble salt is employed as a "surface thin film electrolyte", with humidity causing electrical connection from the working electrode to the SCE counter-reference electrode. The organic solvents are employed without intentionally added electrolyte. Humidity in the nonpolar solvents is shown to be essential for the processes to work. The oxidation of decamethylferrocene is demonstrated as a test organometallic redox system. The electrochemical reduction of Au(III) in toluene (solubilized with tetraoctylammonium bromide, TOABr) is employed to demonstrate and visualize the reaction zone around salt crystal|working electrode contact points. Gold nanowire bundle formation is observed, presumably due to an ordered interfacial surfactant microphase at salt|electrode contact points. The triple phase boundary nature of these processes is discussed, and future applications are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2616-2620
Number of pages5
JournalOrganometallics
Volume31
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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