Electrodeposition of Cu nanoparticles on decanethiol-covered Au(111) surfaces: An in situ STM investigation

  • Gilbert S
  • Cavalleri O
  • Kern K
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Copper electrodeposition has been followed by in situ electrochemical
STM on Au(111) electrodes covered by complete decanethiol monolayers.
It has been-found that Cu nanoparticles (2-5 nm) were formed at
potentials comprising the underpotential deposition (UPD) region on
clean gold. The nanoparticle clusters appear to follow a nucleation and
sudden growth process as their maximal size is attained instantaneously
on the time scale of the STM imaging process. Nanoparticle heights
correspond to one atomic layer of Cu. The distribution density of the
Cu deposits reaches a maximal value at potentials within the UPD
window, as no new formation of clusters nor growth of already existing
clusters is seen at potentials well into the bulk deposition potential
region. Bulk deposition of isolated Cu nodules is finally seen at
potentials 200 mV negative of the Nernstian potential for Cu reduction,
probably resulting from thiol film breakdown. Moreover, nanoparticles
remain on the Au surface at potentials as high as 1000 mV positive of
the equilibrium potential. Passivation of the nanoparticles is proposed
to explain these observations.

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  • Scott E. Gilbert

  • Ornella Cavalleri

  • Klaus Kern

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