Nanofabrication of the gold scanning probe for the STM-SECM coupling system with nanoscale spatial resolution
Scanning probe is the key issue for the electrochemical scanning probe techniques (EC-SPM) such as EC-scanning tunnel microscopy (STM), EC-atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM), especially the insulative encapsulation of the nanoelectrode probe for both positioning and electrochemical feedbacks. To solve this problem, we develop a novel fabrication method of the gold nanoelectrodes: firstly, a micropipette with nanomter-sized orifice was prepared as the template by a laser puller; secondly, the inside wall of micropipette apex was blocked by compact and conic Au nano-piece through electroless plating; thirdly, the Au nano-piece was grown by bipolar electroplating and connected with a silver wire as a current collector. The fabricated Au nanoelectrode has very good voltammetric responses for the electrodic processes of both mass transfer and adsorption. The advantage lies in that it is well encapsulated by a thin glass sealing layer with a RG value lowered to 1.3, which makes it qualified in the SECM-STM coupling mode. On one hand, it can serve as STM tip for positioning which ensures the high spatial resolution; on the other hand, it is a high-quality nanoelectrode to explore the local chemical activity of the substrate. The nanofabrication method may promote the SPM techniques to obtain simultaneously the physical and chemical images with nanoscale spatial resolution, which opens a new approach to tip chemistry in electrochemical nanocatalysis and tip-enhanced spectroscopy.
Keywordsscanning probe SECM bipolar nanoelectrode electrochemical imaging
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