Electrochemical Impedance Measurements in Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy

Viacheslav Shkirskiy, Minkyung Kang, Ian J. McPherson, Cameron L. Bentley, Oluwasegun J. Wahab, Enrico Daviddi, Alex W. Colburn, Patrick R. Unwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) is a versatile tool for electrochemistry, particularly when applied locally to reveal the properties and dynamics of heterogeneous interfaces. A new method to generate local electrochemical impedance spectra is outlined, by applying a harmonic bias between a quasi-reference counter electrode (QRCE) placed in a nanopipet tip of a scanning ion conductance microscope (SICM) and a conductive (working electrode) substrate (two-electrode setup). The AC frequency can be tuned so that the magnitude of the impedance is sensitive to the tip-to-substrate distance, whereas the phase angle is broadly defined by the local capacitive response of the electrical double layer (EDL) of the working electrode. This development enables the surface topography and the local capacitance to be sensed reliably, and separately, in a single measurement. Further, self-referencing the probe impedance near the surface to that in the bulk solution allows the local capacitive response of the working electrode substrate in the overall AC signal to be determined, establishing a quantitative footing for the methodology. The spatial resolution of AC-SICM is an order of magnitude larger than the tip size (100 nm radius), for the studies herein, due to frequency dispersion. Comprehensive finite element method (FEM) modeling is undertaken to optimize the experimental conditions and minimize the experimental artifacts originating from the frequency dispersion phenomenon, and provides an avenue to explore the means by which the spatial resolution could be further improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12509-12517
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

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