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Electrochemical Properties of Metal-Oxide-Coated Carbon Electrodes Prepared by Atomic Layer Deposition

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journal contribution
posted on 18.11.2014, 00:00 by James A. Loussaert, Stephen E. Fosdick, Richard M. Crooks
Here we report on the electrochemical properties of carbon electrodes coated with thin layers of Al2O3 and SnO2. These oxide films were deposited using atomic layer deposition (ALD) and range in thickness from 1 to 6 nm. Electrochemical experiments show that the thinnest oxide layers contain defects that penetrate to the underlying carbon electrode. However, oxygenation of the carbon surface prior to ALD increases the surface concentration of nucleation sites for oxide growth and suppresses the defect density. Films of Al2O3 just ∼3–4 nm in thickness are free of pinholes. Slightly thicker coatings of SnO2 are required for equivalent passivation. Both Al2O3 and SnO2 films are stable in both neutral and acidic electrolytes even after repeated voltammetric scanning. The results reported here open up the possibility of studying the effect of oxide supports on electrocatalytic reactions.