Kinetics of interfacial electron transfer at single-layer graphene electrodes in aqueous and nonaqueous solutions

Nicole L. Ritzert, Joaquín Rodríguez-López, Cen Tan, Héctor D. Abruña

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a catalog of electron transfer mediators for investigating the heterogeneous electron transfer kinetics of large-Area, single-layer graphene electrodes. Scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) was used to probe the apparent standard electron transfer rate constant of mediators in aqueous solutions and in acetonitrile and dimethylformamide, allowing for studies of graphene electroactivity at different potentials and in both aqueous and nonaqueous media. In aqueous solution, iron(III) ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, hexacyanoruthenate(II), hexacyanoferrate(II), hexacyanoferrate(III), octacyanomalybdate(IV), cobalt(III) sepulchrate, and hydroxymethylferrocene exhibited quasi-reversible electron transfer behavior. The electron transfer kinetics of hexaammineruthenium(III), methyl viologen, and tris(2,2′- bipyridyl)ruthenium(II) were found to be reversible in these studies. The electron transfer rate constant of hydroxymethylferrocene and ferrocene, in organic media, was similar to that for hydroxymethylferrocene in water, which, although fast, shows clear kinetic complications that we believe are inherent to graphene. A series of viologens, known to be reversible at metal electrodes, exhibited quasi-reversible electron transfer. For [Co(dapa)2] 2+, where dapa is 2,6-bis[1-(phenylimino)ethyl]pyridine, in dimethylformamide, the oxidation state of the redox pair investigated affected the observed kinetics. Under similar experimental conditions, the Co(I/II) couple exhibited nearly reversible behavior whereas Co(II/III) had finite kinetics. This behavior was ascribed to the large difference in self-exchange rates for these two processes. To demonstrate the utility of using these mediators for examining graphene electrodes, the kinetics of two mediators with quasi-reversible electron transfer behavior, iron ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid and hexacyanoruthenate, were measured in the presence of a redox-Active species [Os(bpy)2(dipy)Cl]PF6, where bpy is 2,2′-bipyridine and dipy is 4,4′-trimethylenedipyridine, adsorbed onto the graphene surface. The kinetics of both mediators were enhanced in the presence of one-hundredth of a monolayer of the osmium complex, showing that even small amounts of impurities on the graphene surface are capable of enhancing the observed kinetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1683-1694
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 5 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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