In-situ Studies of Spontaneous Potential Oscillations during Electrochemical Deposition of Copper and Cuprous Oxide
Abstract: Self-oscillating behaviour in alkaline Cu(II)-lactate and -tartrate systems has been investigated by in-situ pH and confocal Raman spectroscopy measurements. Formation of Cu(II)-lactate and -tartrate complexes is a key factor underlying the self-oscillations. Dynamic processes in the diffusion layer have been probed to give a better understanding of the self-oscillating process.The self-oscillating behaviour is found to be an effect of pH variations in the diffusion layer. Mainly copper is deposited at lower pH values and potentials; at the same time, the pH increases. This is an effect of the dissociation of the Cu(II)-complex during electrochemical reduction. The absence of a buffer within a given pH region is crucial to the fast and sudden pH increase and thereby to the positive potential shift, where cuprous oxide is deposited. A precipitation reaction probably decreases the pH again, leading to a negative potential shift, and copper again begins to deposit. The concentration and strength of the buffer in the electrolyte affect the appearance of the oscillation pattern. The pH and temperature of the bulk electrolyte also influence the self-oscillations. The deposit consists of copper and cuprous oxide, where the composition of the phases deposited is a function of the working-electrode potential. Cuprous oxide is deposited at the higher potentials and mainly copper at the lower potentials.Finally, two-dimensional arrays of Cu/Cu2O microcylinders have been deposited using the Cu(II)-lactate system through the application of a template method.
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