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A gateway for ion transport on gas bubbles pinned onto solids

Veton Haziri, Tu Pham Tran Nha, ,
Communications Chemistry , Volume 4, pp 1-5; doi:10.1038/s42004-021-00481-7

Abstract: Gas bubbles grown on solids are more than simple vehicles for gas transport. They are charged particles with surfaces populated with exchangeable ions. We here unveil a gateway for alkali metal ion transport between oxygen bubbles and semi-conducting (iron oxide) and conducting (gold) surfaces. This gateway was identified by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy using an ultramicroelectrode in direct contact with bubbles pinned onto these solid surfaces. We show that this gateway is naturally present at open circuit potentials, and that negative electric potentials applied through the solid enhance ion transport. In contrast, positive potentials or contact with an insulator (polytetrafluoroethylene) attenuates transport. We propose that this gateway is generated by overlapping electric double layers of bubbles and surfaces of contrasting (electro)chemical potentials. Knowledge of this ion transfer phenomenon is essential for understanding electric shielding and reaction overpotential caused by bubbles on catalysts. This has especially important ramifications for predicting processes including mineral flotation, microfluidics, pore water geochemistry, and fuel cell technology.
Keywords: transport / ion / electric / solid / contrasting / pinned / gateway / Gas bubbles

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