Real time measurement of time-correlated ion transport and volumetric changes in electroactive materials is necessary to understand and model mechanoelectrochemistry. Reversible reduction and oxidation of soft electroactive materials such as conducting polymers result in the deformation of the material due to ion transport into and out of the polymer backbone. In cells, ion transport and volumetric expansion are collectively responsible for homeostasis that is essential for life functions and hence, mechanoelectrochemistry of cells is essential to understand cell and developmental biology. The characterization methods required to investigate mechanoelectrochemistry require nanoscale spatial resolution for the imaging of a redox active site in a polymer or a small group of transmembrane proteins in a single cell. Towards this goal, we present an imaging technique using scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) hardware with shear-force (SF) feedback for high bandwidth mechanoelectrochemistry characterization. In this proceedings article, we demonstrate this technique referred to as surface-tracked scanning electrochemical microscopy technique (ST-SECM) that is realized by measuring the structural feedback of the glass electrode to position the electrode in 10s of nanometers above the surface of a polypyrrole membrane doped with dodecylbenzenesulfonate (PPy(DBS)). Two ultra-microelectrodes of controlled dimensions (of 20 μm and 30 μm glass diameter) were fabricated using a hydrofluoric acid etching technique and were used to generate a spatially correlated ion storage map of PPy(DBS). We compare the developed technique to a three-dimensional discrete scan over the surface and show that a ST-SECM technique produces a higher resolution and takes approximately 200 fewer minutes as compared to the conventional technique.
Vishnu Baba Sundaresan, Robert Northcutt, Vijay Venkatesh, and John Parker Evans, "Mechanoelectrochemistry of soft electroactive materials via surface-tracked scanning electrochemical microscopy," Proc. SPIE 10165, Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Composites 2017, 1016506 (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 26, 2017; Published: 11 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2265840.
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