Standing wave oscillations in an electrocatalytic reaction

P. Strasser, J. Christoph, W.-F. Lin, M. Eiswirth, J.L. Hudson

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51 Citations (Scopus)


Experimental standing wave oscillations of the interfacial potential across an electrode have been observed in the electrocatalytic oxidation of formic acid on a Pt ring working electrode. The instantaneous potential distribution was monitored by means of equispaced potential microprobes along the electrode. The oscillatory standing waves spontaneously arose from a homogeneous stationary state prior to a Hopf bifurcation if the reference electrode was placed close to the working electrode. Reduced electrolyte concentrations resulted in aperiodic potential patterns, while the presence of a sufficiently large ohmic resistance completely suppressed spatial inhomogeneities. The experimental findings confirm numerical predictions of a reaction-migration formalism: under the chosen geometry, a long-range negative potential coupling between distant points across the ring electrode can lead to oscillatory potential domains of distinct phase. It is further shown that the occurrence of oscillatory standing waves can be rationalized as the electrochemical equivalent of Turing's second bifurcation (wave bifurcation). In the presence of an external resistance, the coupling becomes positive throughout and leads to spatial synchronization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1854-1860
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 09 Mar 2000


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