Nicolas G Hörmann Technische Universität München, Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Based on a mean-field description of thermodynamic cyclic voltammograms (CVs), we analyse here in full generality, how CV peak positions and shapes are related to the underlying interface energetics, in particular when also including electrostatic double layer (DL) effects. We show in particular, how non-Nernstian behaviour is related to capacitive DL charging, and how this relates to common adsorbate-centered interpretations such as a changed adsorption energetics due to dipole-field interactions and the electrosorption valency -- the number of exchanged electrons upon electrosorption per adsorbate. Using Ag(111) in halide-containing solutions as test case, we demonstrate that DL effects can introduce peak shifts that are already explained by rationalizing the interaction of isolated adsorbates with the interfacial fields, while alterations of the peak shape are mainly driven by the coverage-dependence of the adsorbate dipoles. In addition, we analyse in detail how changing the experimental conditions such as the ion concentrations in the solvent but also of the background electrolyte can affect the CV peaks via their impact on the potential drop in the DL and the DL capacitance, respectively. These results suggest new routes to analyse experimental CVs and use of those for a detailed assessment of the accuracy of atomistic models of electrified interfaces e.g. with and without explicitly treated interfacial solvent and/or approximate implicit solvent models.
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