Light-addressable electrochemistry at semiconductor electrodes: redox imaging, mask-free lithography and spatially resolved chemical and biological sensing.


School of Chemistry, The Australian Centre for NanoMedicine and the Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia. [Email]


Spatial confinement of electrochemical reactions at solid/liquid interfaces is a mature area of research, and a central theme from cell biology to analytical chemistry. Monitoring or manipulating the kinetics of a charge transfer reaction in 2D is generally achieved using scanning electrochemical microscopy or multielectrode arrays, techniques that rely on moving physical probes or on a network of electrical connections. This tutorial is introducing concepts and instruments to confine faradaic electrochemical reactions in 2D without resorting to the mechanical movement of a probe, and with the simple design of one semiconducting electrode, one electrical lead and a single-channel potentiostat. We provide a theoretical background of semiconductor electrochemistry, and describe the use of localised visible light stimuli on photoconductor/liquid and semiconductor/liquid interfaces to address electrical conductivity - hence chemical reactivity - only at one specific site defined by the experimentalist. This enables shifting of the tenet of one electrode/one wire towards one wire/many electrodes. We discuss the applications of this emerging platform in the context of surface chemistry patterning, redox imaging, chemical and biological sensing, generating chemical gradients, electrocatalysis, nanotechnology and cell biology.

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