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Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2009 Nov 28;11(44):10446-56. doi: 10.1039/b913170a. Epub 2009 Sep 24.

Ethanol electro-oxidation on platinum in alkaline media.

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Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University, PO Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.


The electrochemical oxidation of ethanol as well as its irreversible adsorption on platinum single crystal electrodes has been studied in an alkaline solution. In addition, the adsorbed species in the ethanol oxidation reaction were also studied by means of surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) on a platinum film electrode. It was found that the oxidation of ethanol is very sensitive to the electrode surface structure: a higher concentration of low-coordination sites increases the current, lowers the overpotential required and lowers the deactivation rate. Furthermore, the terrace length also affects the amounts and the nature of the adsorbed species: on Pt (110), only CO(ad) was observed, whereas adsorbed CH(x) could only be found on electrode surfaces with (111) terrace sites. Based on the results here, a model for the ethanol electro-oxidation reaction in alkaline media is presented, and the differences with the same reaction in acidic media are pointed out.

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