Electrowetting and Electrodeposition on Graphitic Surfaces

  • Deborah Lomax

    Student thesis: Phd


    Graphite and graphene electrodes are used to study two electrochemical processes: the decoration of these electrodes with Au metallic nanoparticles through the use of electrodeposition, and electrowetting, the potential-dependent change in hydrophobicity of a surface. Electrodeposition provides a useful route to electrode functionalisation, in particular to combine the enhanced properties of metallic nanoparticles with the advantageous features of carbon materials. A combination of cyclic voltammetry, chronoamperometry, and both ex situ and in situ atomic force microscopy are used to deduce the mechanism of Au electrodeposition on graphite and graphene. Notably, the mechanism of Au nanoparticle formation cannot be deduced from simple voltammetry alone, and the spontaneous formation of Au within the timescale of the electrodeposition experiment is confirmed. Electrowetting is a uniquely responsive method to manipulate the wetting properties of an electrode. However, a dielectric coating is commonly required to protect the surface from electrolysis, which in turn further increases the potentials needed to perform electrowetting. In contrast to this, here it is shown that bare graphite and graphene electrodes support electrowetting without the disadvantages of a dielectric coating, allowing an unprecedented combination of performance and efficiency. Furthermore, the ideal behaviour this system demonstrates is implemented as a platform to study electrowetting itself. The influence of electrolyte composition, surface defects and electrode-blocking dielectric-like films are investigated to determine the factors that impede electrowetting, a key step to understanding the phenomenon that is normally hindered by the use of the dielectric.
    Date of Award31 Dec 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    SupervisorRobert Dryfe (Supervisor) & Ian Kinloch (Supervisor)


    • electrodeposition
    • electrowetting
    • graphene
    • graphite
    • gold
    • contact angle

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