Spectroelectrochemical Characterization of the Dynamic Carbon-Fiber Surface in Response to Electrochemical Conditioning

Langmuir. 2017 Aug 15;33(32):7838-7846. doi: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b01443. Epub 2017 Aug 1.


The effects of electrochemical preconditioning of P-55 pitch-based carbon-fiber microelectrodes were quantitatively examined in this study. Microstructural characterization of the electrode surface was done using Raman spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Electrochemical performance was evaluated using cyclic voltammetry. The data show that application of positive potentials provides beneficial structural modifications to the electrode surface. Electrodes that were preconditioned using a static potential of +1.0 V exhibited enhanced sensitivity and electron transfer properties when compared to electrodes conditioned for the same amount of time with dynamic (triangular) waveforms reaching +1.0 V. Conditioning elicited microstructural changes to the electrode surface that were dependent on the amount of time spent at potentials greater than ∼1.0 V. Importantly, the data demonstrate that the carbon-fiber microstructure is dynamic. It is able to quickly and continuously undergo rapid structural reorganization as potential is applied, repeatedly alternating between a relatively ordered state and one that exhibits greater disorder in response to applied electrochemical potentials that span the range commonly used in voltammetric experiments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.