Exploring bipolar electrochemistry for the modification of unusual conducting substrates

Abstract : Bipolar electrochemistry is a phenomenon based on the polarization of conductive objects in an electric field. In contrast to conventional electrochemistry, the drop of potential in the electrolyte solution triggers the involved redox reactions. When a conductive object is positioned in an electric field present in a solution between two feeder electrodes, it is polarized and becomes a bipolar electrode. The potential difference between the electrolyte and the bipolar electrode is the driving force for reduction/oxidation reactions at the two extremities of the bipolar electrode; oxidation will occur at one end, combined simultaneously with reduction at the other end.Bipolar electrochemistry is a concept that allows generating an asymmetric reactivity at the surface of a conductive object. During the last decade, bipolar electrochemistry found many applications such as the synthesis of asymmetric micro- and nano-particles, electrodeposition, sensing, propulsion of microobjects, electroanalysis etc. The advantage of this technique is its wireless character, which allows the modification of delicate materials and also to electrochemically address many objects simultaneously.In the present thesis, the approach was applied to different semiconducting materials and biological systems. In addition, properties of substrates of different nature have been studied using bipolar electrochemistry.In this way, it was possible to create metal deposits on organic charge transfer salts in a site-specific way. The resulting hybrid metal/organic particles were tested for the asymmetric generation of photovoltage under illumination.Inorganic transition metal dichalcogenides were also used as a substrate for bipolar electrochemistry. Deposition of different metals on MoSe2 macroparticles was performed. Transition metal dichalcogenides are known for their catalytic activity with respect to hydrogen evolution reaction. Therefore, wireless hydrogen production on MoSe2 crystals and microparticles could be demonstrated by using bipolar electrochemistry. In the latter case it is possible to envision their use for electrochemical decontamination of solutions in the bulk.Finally, bipolar electrochemistry has also been used for studying the conductivity of biological molecules (DNA). The primary goal was to develop a new approach for the asymmetric modification of DNA by metal nanoparticles. Experiments were performed by using either Capillary Assisted Bipolar Electrodeposition (CABED) with the DNA molecules present in the bulk, or by immobilizing DNA as stretched entities on model surfaces for subsequent modification. Encouraging first results could be evidenced by TEM or AFM measurements.
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Iuliia Malytska. Exploring bipolar electrochemistry for the modification of unusual conducting substrates. Theoretical and/or physical chemistry. Université de Bordeaux, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018BORD0135⟩. ⟨tel-02283554⟩

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