Beyond the Butler–Volmer equation. Curved Tafel slopes from steady-state current–voltage curves

2011-05-19T10:30:11Z (GMT) by Stephen Fletcher Thomas S. Varley
We report the discovery and analysis of curved Tafel slopes from the electrochemical reduction of hexamminecobalt(III) under steady-state conditions. In order to confirm the existence of the curvature, random assemblies of carbon microelectrodes (RAM™ electrodes) were employed to obtain experimental data over more than three orders of magnitude, without significant double layer charging currents and without ohmic distortion. Since the rate-determining step in the reduction reaction is electron transfer, and no ligand substitution reactions occur on the timescale of experiments, the curvature of the Tafel plot is attributed to the dependence of the symmetry factor on electrode potential.