We report on the potential-dependent behavior of the zwitterionic molecule p-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) at a Ag(111) electrode surface. Infrared-visible sum frequency generation spectroscopy (SFG) in tandem with electrochemical capacitance and CV measurements are used to study the effects of applied potential on the adsorption and orientation of PABA. Changes in the SFG signal indicate that PABA changes orientation in response to the charge on the electrode surface, orienting one way positive of the potential of zero charge (pzc) and oppositely negative of the pzc. At positive potentials, a phase change is observed associated with the formation of a condensed layer. PABA is observed to remain on the surface at all potentials examined. These results show that the orientation of small molecules with large dipoles, like zwitterions, can be controlled by applied potential.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry