In situ Raman spectroscopy was used to monitor 4-nitroazobenzene (NAB) in an electrochemical cell, both as a free molecule and as a chemisorbed monolayer on a glassy carbon (GC) electrode surface. Reduction of free NAB exhibited two well-defined voltammetric couples in acetonitrile, and the accompanying spectral changes supported a mechanism involving two successive 1-e- transfers. Raman spectra of NAB chemisorbed to GC via diazonium ion reduction were obtained in acetonitrile with a high-sensitivity, line-focused CCD spectrometer. The chemisorbed NAB spectra were quite different from the free NAB spectra, and were sufficiently strong to monitor as a function of applied potential. In the potential range of +400 to -800 mV vs Ag/Ag+, the intensity of the Raman bands associated with the phenyl-NO2 moiety varied, implying an electronic interaction between the π system of the graphitic substrate and the chemisorbed NAB molecules. Negative of -800 mV, a 1-e- voltammetric reduction peak was observed, which was reversible on the positive voltage scan. This peak was accompanied by significant spectral changes, particularly the loss of the N=N and NO2 stretches. The spectra are consistent with formation of a quinoid structure containing a C=C double bond between the NAB and the graphitic surface. The electron transfer and spectral changes occurred over a wider potential range than expected for a conventional Nernstian equilibrium, but did not appear to be broadened by slow electron-transfer kinetics. The results imply a significant perturbation of electron transfer between the GC and the monolayer, caused by strong electronic coupling between the graphitic π system and the NAB orbitals. Rather than a discrete electron transfer to a free molecule, the electron transfer to chemisorbed NAB is more gradual, and is presumably driven by the electric field at the electrode/solution interface.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry