Z. Naturforsch. 2013, 68b, 1143 – 1153
The Differential Capacitance of Ionic Liquid | Metal Electrode Interfaces – A Critical Comparison of Experimental Results with Theoretical Predictions
Jens Wallauer, Marcel Drüschler, Benedikt Huber, and Bernhard Roling
Department of Chemistry, Philipps University of Marburg, Hans-Meerwein-Strasse, 35032 Marburg, Germany
Reprint requests to Prof. Dr. Bernhard Roling. Fax: +49 6421 282 2309. E-mail: roling@staff.uni-marburg.de
Received June 13, 2013 / published online October 4, 2013
Results of potential-dependent differential capacitance measurements on the interface between six different ionic liquids and the (111) surface of single-crystalline gold are presented. The measurements were done by means of broadband impedance spectroscopy in a frequency range from 10 mHz to 1 MHz. We discuss the influence of the IL cation, the IL anion and the cations' alkyl chain length on the interfacial capacitance. Our results suggest that (i) there is no simple relationship between the cation size and the value of the differential capacitance, (ii) the general shape of the potential-dependent differential capacitance curve is more strongly influenced by the IL anion, and (iii) experimental differential capacitance curves do not exhibit a simple ''camel-'' or ''bell-shaped'' curvature as predicted by mean-field theories. Furthermore, the broadband measurements show that two capacitive processes can be distinguished, which take place on millisecond and second time scales, respectively. While a millisecond time scale is expected for double-layer charging governed by the bulk conductivity of the IL, the existence of a slow process points to additional barriers for charge transport at the interface. The capacitance contribution of the slow process is most pronounced for ILs based on the N-butyl-N-methyl-pyrrolidinium ([Pyr1,4]) cation. A comparison of capacitance data with in-situ STM data from previous studies suggests that the slow process is connected to herringbone-type structures at the interface. While the herringbone superstructure of the Au(111) surface is well known in aqueous electrochemistry, a herringbone-type structure of adsorbed ions was described in a recent MD simulation paper by Federov and coworkers (K. Kirchner, T. Kirchner, V. Ivaništšev, M. V. Fedorov, Electrochim. Acta 2013, in press: doi: 10.1016/j.electacta.2013.05.049).
Key words: Ionic Liquid, Au(111), Interface, Differential Capacitance, Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy
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