Electrochemically Generated Nanobubbles: Invariance of the Current with Respect to Electrode Size and Potential
Gadea, Esteban David; Pérez Sirkin, Yamila Anahí; Molinero, Valeria; Scherlis Perel, Damian Ariel; Electrochemically Generated Nanobubbles: Invariance of the Current with Respect to Electrode Size and Potential; American Chemical Society; Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters; 11; 16; 8-2020; 6573-6579
Gadea, Esteban David
Pérez Sirkin, Yamila Anahí
Scherlis Perel, Damian Ariel
Gas-producing electrochemical reactions are key to energy conversion and generation technologies. Bubble formation dramatically decreases gas-production rates on nanoelectrodes, by confining the reaction to the electrode boundary. This results in the collapse of the current to a stationary value independent of the potential. Startlingly, these residual currents also appear to be insensitive to the nanoelectrode diameter in the 5 to 500 nm range. These results are counterintuitive, as it may be expected that the current be proportional to the circumference of the electrode, i.e., the length of the three-phase line where the reaction occurs. Here, we use molecular simulations and a kinetic model to elucidate the origin of current insensitivity with respect to the potential and establish its relationship to the size of nanoelectrodes. We provide critical insights for the design and operation of nanoscale electrochemical devices and demonstrate that nanoelectrode arrays maximize conversion rates compared to macroscopic electrodes with same total area.