Electrochemical Potential Stabilization of Reconstructed Au(111) Structure by Monolayer Coverage with Graphene

The electrochemical properties of a monolayer graphene grown on a Au(111) electrode were studied using cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy (EC-STM). CV and EC-STM measurements in 0.1 M H<sub>2</sub>SO<sub>4</sub> aqueous solution revealed that graphene grown on the reconstructed (22 × √3) Au(111) structure effectively inhibited potential-induced structural transitions between reconstructed (22 × √3) and unreconstructed (1 × 1), and the adsorption/desorption of SO<sub>4</sub><sup>2–</sup> ions, which are intrinsic behavior of the bare Au(111) surface. The underlying reconstructed structure was significantly stabilized by covering with monolayer graphene over a wide potential range between −0.2 V and +1.35 V vs Ag/AgCl (saturated KCl), which is much wider than that for bare Au(111) (−0.2 to + 0.35 V vs Ag/AgCl (saturated KCl)). Such high stability has not been reported to date; therefore, these results are considered to be important for understanding the fundamentals of surface reconstruction and also serve to open a new branch of electrochemistry related to graphene/metal–electrolyte interfaces.