In-situ observation of hydrogen nanobubbles formation on graphene surface by AFM-SECM

Kholimatussadiah, S, Hsu C-L, Ke S-W, Chou T-chin, Wu Y-F, Yakimova R, Kumatani A, Chen K-H, Chen L-C, Du H-Y.  2024.  In-situ observation of hydrogen nanobubbles formation on graphene surface by AFM-SECM, 2024. Electrochimica Acta. 493:144425.


Gas bubble evolution is an important phenomenon in many electrochemical processes and it is highly sensitive to the surface properties. Here we visualize the gas bubble dynamics on the surface of different graphene substrates during hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) using atomic force microscopy combined with scanning electrochemical microscopy. The low overpotential and low surface hydrophobicity of few-layer graphene formed on C-phase SiC causes the uniform distribution of hydrogen nanobubbles, which easily depart from the surface during the reaction. Conversely, the high overpotential and more hydrophobic surface of HOPG induces hydrogen bubbles to linger on the surface for an extended duration, leading to its accumulation and the subsequent formation of microbubbles. This in-situ nanoscale electrochemical mapping of hydrogen bubble dynamics provides new insight into electrocatalytic HER that occurs on non-metal electrodes.