The reversible adsorption of acetate on polycrystalline Au and Pt surfaces was investigated with broadband sum-frequency generation (SFG) and cyclic voltammetry. Specifically adsorbed acetate as well as coadsorbed sulfuric acid anions are observed for the first time with SFG and give rise to dramatically different SFG intensities on Au and Pt surfaces. While similar coverages of acetate adlayers on Au and Pt surfaces are well established by previous studies, an identification of the interfacial molecular structure has been elusive. However, we have applied the high sensitivity of SFG for interfacial polar ordering to identify different acetate structures at Au and Pt surfaces in contact with HClO4 and H2SO4 electrolytes. Acetate competes with the formation of surface oxides and shifts the oxidation threshold of both Au and Pt electrodes anodically. Effects of the supporting electrolyte on the formation of acetate adlayers are revealed by comparing SFG spectra in HClO4 and H2SO4 solutions: Sulfuric acid anions modify the potential-dependent acetate adsorption, compete with adsorbed acetate on Au and coadsorb with acetate on Pt surfaces.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry