Understanding the relationship between electrochemical activity and electrode structure is vital for improving the efficiency of dye-sensitized solar cells. Here, the reduction of triiodide to iodide in 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate ([BMIm][BF4]) room temperature ionic liquid (RTIL) is investigated on polycrystalline platinum using scanning electrochemical cell microscopy (SECCM) and correlated to the crystallographic orientation from electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). Although the rate determining step in all grains was the first electron transfer, significant grain-dependent variations in activity were revealed, with grains with a dominant (110) crystallographic character exhibiting higher catalytic activity compared to those with a major (100) orientation. The SECCM technique is demonstrated to resolve heterogeneity in activity, highlighting that methods incorporating polycrystalline electrodes miss vital details for understanding and optimizing electrocatalysts. An additional advantage of the SECCM over single-crystal techniques is its ability to probe high index facets.
Aaronson, B. D. B., Lai, S., & Unwin, P. R. (2014). Spatially resolved electrochemistry in ionic liquids: surface structure effects on triiodide reduction at platinum electrodes. Langmuir, 30(7), 1915-1919. https://doi.org/10.1021/la500271f