Improvement in the assessment of direct and facilitated ion transfers by electrochemically induced redox transformations of common molecular probes

Min Zhou, Shiyu Gan, Lijie Zhong, Xiandui Dong, Jens Ulstrup, Dongxue Han, Li Niu

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A new strategy based on a thick organic film modified electrode allowed us, for the first time, to explore the voltammetric processes for a series of hydrophilic ions by electrochemically induced redox transformations of common molecular probes. During the limited time available for voltammetry, this thick organic film ensured that the generated product of the molecular probe, which is within a limited diffusion layer, was kept far away from the aqueous–organic solvent interface; therefore, regardless of the degree of hydrophobicity, the generated product never participates in ion exchange across the interface and the charge neutrality of the organic film (containing an extremely hydrophobic electrolyte) can only be maintained by the injection of ions from the aqueous phase. Taking advantage of this fact, common redox probes, such as ferrocene (Fc) and 7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinodimethane (TCNQ), which are almost useless for both three-phase electrode (TPE) and thin-layer cyclic voltammetry (TLCV) methods, can induce the transfer of numerous highly hydrophilic anions and cations. Consequently, the majority of their Gibbs transfer energies have been accurately determined for the first time to the best of our knowledge. With this in mind, using TCNQ as a redox probe to induce facilitated cation transfer, a stategy that is more advantageous than traditional methods has been developed. The main advantages are that: (i) voltammetric experiments performed on this system were free from the polarized potential window (ppw) in the aqueous phase and, as a result, this allowed the assessment of weakly assisted ion transfers, which appear at the terminal of the ppw at single polarized interfaces; (ii) without introducing the tetraphenylarsonium–tetraphenylborate (TPAs–TPB) thermodynamic assumption, one can conveniently evaluate both the association constant and the stoichiometric parameter between the ion and its ionophore by comparison of their direct and facilitated ion transfer voltammograms. These encouraging results illustrated the exciting innovation for assessing direct and facilitated ion transfers based on this new thick organic film modified electrode.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)3659-3668
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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