Tailorable nanostructured mercury/gold amalgam electrode arrays with varied surface areas and compositions

Pavel Podesva, Xiaocheng Liu, Martin Pumera, Pavel Neuzil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The mercury electrode is an attractive material for a working electrode due to its atomically smooth, self-healing surface and large potential window. Amalgams are attractive substitutes for toxic Hg in various electrochemical applications. They are typically prepared by mixing different metals with Hg, or by electrodeposition of Hg on the metals’ surfaces. These methods offer little to no control of the amalgam compositions and morphology, which is a major disadvantage of their usage. Here, we show a highly controllable method used to fabricate an array of nanostructured Au amalgam electrodes in a single step, with tailored sensitivity and composition. This method is based on the direct electrochemical co-deposition of Au and Hg from their cyano complexes, which results in branched AuxHgy structures with controlled ratios between both metals. We investigated the effects of solution composition and deposition potential on the electroactive surface area, its morphology, and the electrode potential window. The nanostructured amalgam could replace the Hg electrode for heavy metal detection with high sensitivity, due to its enhanced area and potential window similar to that of Hg. This method of in situ wet-chemistry fabrication of the Hg/Au amalgam, with tailorable nanostructure and composition, opens the door to a renaissance of Hg-based electrodes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127175
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
Volume302
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1

Fingerprint

mercury amalgams
Mercury amalgams
Mercury (metal)
Mercury
Gold
gold
Electrodes
electrodes
Chemical analysis
Metals
Poisons
sensitivity
healing
heavy metals
Heavy Metals
Electrodeposition
electrodeposition
metals
Heavy metals
metal surfaces

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Instrumentation
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry

Cite this

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Tailorable nanostructured mercury/gold amalgam electrode arrays with varied surface areas and compositions. / Podesva, Pavel; Liu, Xiaocheng; Pumera, Martin; Neuzil, Pavel.

In: Sensors and Actuators, B: Chemical, Vol. 302, 127175, 01.01.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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