Scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) is a rising technique for the study of energy storage materials. Hg-based probes allow the extension of SECM investigations to ionic processes, but the risk of irreversible Hg amalgam saturation limits their operation to rapid timescales and dilute analyte solutions. Here, we report a novel fabrication protocol for Hg disc-well ultramicroelectrodes (UMEs), which retain access to stripping information but are less susceptible to amalgam saturation than traditional Hg sphere-caps or thin-films. The amalgamation and stripping behaviors of Hg disc-well UMEs are compared to those of traditional Hg sphere-cap UMEs and corroborated with data from finite element simulations. The improved protection against amalgam saturation allows Hg disc-wells to operate safely in highly concentrated environments at long timescales. The utility of the probes for bulk measurements extends also to SECM studies, where the disc geometry facilitates small tip-substrate gaps and improves both spatial and temporal resolution. Because they can carry out slow, high-resolution anodic stripping voltammetry approaches and imaging in concentrated solutions, Hg disc-well electrodes fill a new analytical niche for studies of ionic reactivity and are a valuable addition to the electrochemical toolbox.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry