Department of Chemistry
University of Guelph , Guelph, Canada
Our efforts are directed towards understanding of phenomena which determine the structure and composition of the metal solution interface. We are studying processes, such as adsorption, electron and ion transfer, which are involved in electrolytic production of metals, corrosion and energy conversion in fuel cells or batteries. The metals are Pt, Au, Ag and Cu and their alloys. We are making efforts to understand how adsorption of organic molecules and ions depends on surface crystallography of the metal electrode. We are growing Pt, Au, Ag and Cu single crystal, later we are orienting and cutting them to expose crystallographic planes of required geometry. We use ultra high vacuum (UHV) based surface analysis techniques ( Auger Electron Spectroscopy and Low Energy Electron Diffraction ) to control surface purity and crystallography. We employ electroanalytical techniques to determine the amount of ions and molecules adsorbed at the metal solution interface and energetics of their interaction with the metal surface. In situ imaging by Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy is used to determine the structure. of the thin films that are deposited at the metal electrode from an electrolyte solution. Molecular absorption and florescence spectroscopies and Fourier transform infra red spectroscopy are used to study the orientation of organic molecules adsorbed at electrode surfaces. In addition we travel to Cornell University to use Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source in order to perform X-ray absorption experiments on monolayers deposited at metal electrodes. Extended X-ray fine structure EXAFS spectra provide information about geometries of adsorption sites and the bond length chemisorption bond length. In summary our research is a balance mixture of electrochemistry, surface analysis and surface spectroscopy and materials science. It is also a mixture of fundamental and applied science since we apply the knowledge gained from our fundamental studies to solve industrial problems related to protection against corrosion and electrolytic production of metals.