Electrochemical and infrared studies of the electrosorption of 4-methoxypyridine on crystallographic surfaces of gold.
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A firm knowledge about the interaction between the metal surface and adsorbed molecules is imperative for formulating procedures to synthesize nanoparticles (NPs) with predetermined shape and size. The ligand‐metal interaction during NP formation can be mimicked on an electrode surface by electrosorbing ligand molecules on a charged metal surface. Electrochemical methods can provide an ideal platform to study the adsorption behaviour of molecules at the solid‐liquid interface. In addition to classical electrochemical techniques, the combination of spectroscopy with electrochemical methods amplifies mechanistic insights about the surface adsorption processes. The adsorption behaviour of pyridine and one of its derivatives, 4‐dimethylamino pyridine (DMAP) have been well studied due to their potential application in nanoparticle synthesis. However, prior to this work, there has been very limited and conflicting literature available about the adsorption of of pyridine derivatives analogous to DMAP. Among the pyridine derivatives that were studied, some reports indicate that, other than DMAP, only 4‐methoxy pyridine (MOP) can stabilize gold nanoparticles. However, very little is known about the possible differences in the adsorption energy and general behaviour of MOP compared to DMAP. Resolving this knowledge gap is imperative to resolving the conflicting information about pyridine‐based stabilizers for metal nanoparticle applications. The adsorption behaviour of MOP on different crystallographic Au surfaces as a function of pH and surface potential has been investigated in this project. These studied were carried out using classical electrochemical methods including chronocoulometry and differential capacity, as well as modern spectroscopic techniques like Surface Enhanced Infrared Absorption Spectroscopy (SEIRAS). The thermodynamic parameters obtained from electrochemical data shows that adsorption features of MOP is similar to that of DMAP. However, there is a significant difference in the adsorption strength of MOP and DMAP at positive potentials. The SEIRAS data provides much more detailed information about the potential depended orientation of MOP on polycrystalline Au. Cumulative analysis of electrochemical and spectroscopic data provides strong evidence that MOP can stabilize Au(111) facets over wide pH ranges. Moreover, this work provides convincing evidence that the basic nature of substituted pyridine alters the metal to ligand adsorption strength.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorBurgess, Ian J.
CommitteeScott, Robert W.; Oguocha, Ikechukwuka N.
Copyright DateFebruary 2016