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On the mechanism of scanning electrochemical potential microscopy

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jochen Friedl, Dr Jingying Gu, Professor Ulrich Stimming, Dr Ben Horrocks



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Scanning electrochemical potential microscopy (SECPM) is a type of probe microscopy in which a sharp tip similar to those employed in electrochemical tunnelling microscopy is connected to a high impedance amplifier, but the tip potential instead of tip current is used as the signal in the feedback loop. SECPM has been found to provide much higher spatial resolution than would be expected on the basis of a mechanism in which the tip responds to the local electrochemical potential of the solution; in fact it can obtain atomic resolution similar to STM, but is a superior technique for imaging electronically insulating objects such as proteins on a metal surface. We suggest a mechanism for these high resolution images based on electron exchange between tip and substrate coupled to faradaic processes at the tip/solution interface. This mechanism operates alongside the conventional mechanism in which the tip responds to the local potential in the diffuse layer of the substrate and allows a simple description of the sigmoidal tip potential-distance curves which have been reported.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Friedl J, Gu J, Stimming U, Horrocks BR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: ChemElectroChem

Year: 2018

Volume: 5

Issue: 1

Pages: 25-28

Print publication date: 01/01/2018

Online publication date: 06/10/2017

Acceptance date: 04/10/2017

Date deposited: 06/10/2017

ISSN (electronic): 2196-0216

Publisher: Wiley


DOI: 10.1002/celc.201701031


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