Towards a piezoelectric electroanalytical platform for modulating oxygen reduction reactivity on platinum

Michael J. Counihan, Burton H. Simpson, Manuel Plaza-Domínguez, Joaquín Rodríguez-López

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is key to a variety of renewable energy technologies. However, to date there is no experimental nor predicted material that achieves this reaction at the standard potential of 1.23 V vs. NHE. Here, we describe the first iteration of an electroanalytical platform for elucidating fundamental links between surface dynamics and ORR reactivity using chemomechanical perturbation. In our approach, a thin layer of Pt was deposited on a single crystal piezoelectric LiNbO3 substrate, which was micropatterned with contacts for effecting in situ electronically-controlled actuation. Our hypothesis is that actuation causes strain on the Pt catalyst, with concurrent changes in the reactivity toward the ORR. Actuation caused up to a ∼10 mV positive shift for the ORR reduction wave, and few mV displacements on a wave ascribed to surface oxide, when compared to curves in the absence of actuation. While mechanical deformation was below the limit of detection for XRD studies, a distinct effect was confirmed on the ORR when compared to control experiments including Ru(NH3)3+/2+ as surface-insensitive redox mediator. This work represents a first step toward a versatile platform for modulating the reactivity of electrocatalysts in situ to study structure-function relationships and discover optimal performance conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H677-H684
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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