Structural effects on water adsorption on gold electrodes

Nuria Garcia-Araez*, Paramaconi Rodriguez, Violeta Navarro, Huib J. Bakker, Marc T M Koper, Paramaconi Rodriguez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


We study the molecular properties of the interface formed between aqueous sulfuric acid solutions and gold electrodes by means of surface-enhanced infrared absorption spectroscopy (SEIRAS). The shape of the SEIRAS spectra is observed to be strongly dependent on the deposition rate with which the gold electrodes are prepared. We find that the water molecules coordinating to coadsorbed sulfate anions become invisible in the SEIRAS spectra when the gold films are deposited at 1 Å/s, instead of the customary deposition rate of 0.1 Å/s employed in previous studies. Atomic force microscopy images of the gold deposits demonstrate that the increase of the gold deposition rate produces a decrease in the size of the nanoparticles composing the gold films. This suggests that water molecules coadsorbed with sulfate anions on small gold nanoparticles are oriented parallel to the surface. On the other hand, the fact that these water molecules are not detected by SEIRAS facilitates the study of the adsorption of hydronium cations, since these SEIRAS bands overlap. It is concluded that the adsorption of sulfate anions does not involve the coadsorption of any hydronium-water complex, since the SEIRAS band of the latter species exhibits a steady decrease with increasing potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21249-21257
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number43
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Energy(all)


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