Probing Electrified Liquid–Solid Interfaces with Scanning Electron Microscopy


Electrical double layers play a key role in a variety of electrochemical systems. The mean free path of secondary electrons in aqueous solutions is on the order of a nanometer, making them suitable for probing ultrathin electrical double layers at solid–liquid electrolyte interfaces. Employing graphene as an electron-transparent electrode in a two-electrode electrochemical system, we show that the secondary electron yield of the graphene–liquid interface depends on the ionic strength and concentration of the electrolyte and the applied bias at the remote counter electrode. These observations have been related to polarization-induced changes in the potential distribution within the electrical double layer and demonstrate the feasibility of using scanning electron microscopy to examine and map electrified liquid–solid interfaces.


H.Guo, A.Yulaev, E.Strelcov, A.Tselev, Ch.Arble, A.E.Vladar, J.S.Villarrubia, A.Kolmakov

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In part (A.T.), this work was developed within the scope of the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/ 2020 and UIDP/50011/2020, financed by national funds through the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology/MCTES.

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