Platinum plays a central role in a variety of electrochemical devices and its practical use depends on the prevention of electrode degradation. However, understanding the underlying atomic processes under conditions of repeated oxidation and reduction inducing irreversible surface structure changes has proved challenging. Here, we examine the correlation between the evolution of the electrochemical signal of Pt(111) and its surface roughening by simultaneously performing cyclic voltammetry and in situ electrochemical scanning tunnelling microscopy (EC-STM). We identify a ‘nucleation and early growth’ regime of nanoisland formation, and a ‘late growth’ regime after island coalescence, which continues up to at least 170 cycles. The correlation analysis shows that each step site that is created in the ‘late growth’ regime contributes equally strongly to both the electrochemical and the roughness evolution. In contrast, in the ‘nucleation and early growth’ regime, created step sites contribute to the roughness, but not to the electrochemical signal.
Nature Materials – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 12, 2018
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