Harniman, RL, Plana, D, Carter, GH, Bradley, KA, Miles, MJ and Fermín, DJ (2017) Real-time tracking of metal nucleation via local perturbation of hydration layers. Nature Communications, 8 (1). 971 - ?. ISSN 2041-1723

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The real-time visualization of stochastic nucleation events at electrode surfaces is one of the most complex challenges in electrochemical phase formation. The early stages of metal deposition on foreign substrates are characterized by a highly dynamic process in which nanoparticles nucleate and dissolve prior to reaching a critical size for deposition and growth. Here, high-speed non-contact lateral molecular force microscopy employing vertically oriented probes is utilized to explore the evolution of hydration layers at electrode surfaces with the unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution, and extremely low probe-surface interaction forces required to avoid disruption or shielding the critical nucleus formation. To the best of our knowledge, stochastic nucleation events of nanoscale copper deposits are visualized in real time for the first time and a highly dynamic topographic environment prior to the formation of critical nuclei is unveiled, featuring formation/re-dissolution of nuclei, two-dimensional aggregation and nuclei growth.Electrochemical deposition is important for industrial processes however, tracking the early stages of metallic phase nucleation is challenging. Here, the authors visualize the birth and growth of metal nuclei at electrode surfaces in real time via high-speed non-contact lateral molecular force microscopy.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Electrochemistry; Imaging techniques; Scanning probe microscopy
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
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Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2017 10:18
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2017 10:18
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/4168

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