Influence of oxidation state on the pH dependence of hydrous iridium oxide films
Journal article, 2012

Many electrochemical reactions taking place in aqueous solution consume or produce protons. The pH in the diffusion layer can therefore be significantly altered during the reaction and there is a need for in situ pH measurements tracing this near surface pH. In the present paper the rotating ring disc technique was used to measure near surface pH changes during oxygen reduction, utilising hydrous iridium oxide as the pH sensing probe. Before such experiments a good understanding of the pH sensing properties of these films is required and the impact of the oxidation state of the film on the pH sensing properties was investigated as well as the influence of solution redox species. The pH sensitivity (depicted by dE/dpH)was found to depend on the average oxidation state of the film in a manner resembling the cyclic voltammetry response. In all cases the pH response is "supernernstian" with more than one proton per electron. The origin of this behaviour is discussed in the context of acid-base properties of the film and the existence of both hydrous and anhydrous oxide phases. The pH response depends also on the redox properties of the solution but can be optimised for various purposes by conditioning the film at different potentials. This was clearly illustrated by adding hydrogen peroxide, an intermediate in the oxygen reduction reaction, to the solution. It was shown that hydrous iridium oxide can be used as a reliable in situ pH sensor provided that care is taken to optimise the oxidation state of the film. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


zero charge

potentiometric sensors

pH sensor

thionine-coated electrode


anodic iridium


of-flight method

bulk processes

ring-disc electrodes

proton fluxes


Hydrous iridium oxide

Oxidation state


Patrick Steegstra

University of Gothenburg

Elisabet Ahlberg

University of Gothenburg

Electrochimica Acta

0013-4686 (ISSN)

Vol. 76 26-33

Subject Categories

Chemical Sciences



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