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Templateless electrodeposition of oriented polypyrrole nanowire array

C. Debiemme-Chouvy

Keywords: polypyrrole, nanowire array, electrochemistry


Due to their potential applications, nanostructured conductive polymers have attracted growing attention. Up to now, conductive polymer nanostructures were primarily obtained using ‘hard’ templates (such as zeolites, track-etched polymeric membranes and alumina films containing anodically etched pores) or ‘soft’ templates (surfactant molecules that spontaneously organize into micelles when their concentration reaches a critical value or liquid-crystalline phases). In this communication, it will be shown that the direct electrodeposition of oriented polypyrrole nanostructures can be achieved without using a template. These structures are obtained by electrochemical oxidation of pyrrole in the presence of jointly weak-acid and non-acid anions. If only weak-acid anions are present in the electrolyte, a very thin film of overoxidized polypyrrole is deposited on the electrode. The growth mechanism of the polypyrrole nanostructures will be discussed. Notably, it will be highlighted that the presence, at the electrode-solution interface, of weak-acid anions is essential and that, at the beginning of the process, water oxidation which leads to hydroxyl radicals and O2 evolution should occur. It will be shown that the decrease of the interfacial pH, due to pyrrole oxidation, is the key point of the process.
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