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Tunneling Ultramicroelectrode: Nanoelectrodes and Nanoparticle Collisions

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journal contribution
posted on 11.06.2014 by Jiyeon Kim, Byung-Kwon Kim, Sung Ki Cho, Allen J. Bard
We describe the fabrication of a nanometer-size electrode based on an insulating TiO2 film and a metal nanoparticle (NP). The TiO2 film is deposited on the conducting Pt surface of an ultramicroelectrode (UME) to block electron transfer (ET) to solution species. The film thickness is, however, thin enough to enable tunneling to Pt NPs; thus, the subsequent contact of metal NP to the TiO2 film restores the ET to solution species solely on the NP surface via facile electron tunneling. Consequently, the composite of UME/metal oxide film/NP offers nm-scale active area. The TiO2 film is electrochemically deposited on the Pt UME (Pt UME/TiO2), monitoring the cyclic voltammetry (CV) of ferrocenemethanol until the oxidation wave just disappears. A single Pt NP is captured in a collision experiment by observing the current increase upon contact of the Pt NP with the Pt UME/TiO2 by means of Pt NP-mediated electrochemical reduction of Fe­(CN)63–. The resultant Pt UME/TiO2/Pt NP (or tunneling UME, T-UME) showed long-term stability and robustness with well-defined electrochemical response, suggesting applicability as a novel nm-size electrode for CV and steady-state measurements such as those with scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM). Here, we employed the T-UME to measure SECM approach curves and showed remarkable approach capability for a nm-size SECM probe.