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Nanoelectrical and Nanoelectrochemical Imaging of Pt/p-Si and Pt/p+-Si Electrodes.

ABSTRACT

The interfacial properties of electrolessly deposited Pt nanoparticles (Pt-NP) on p-Si and p+-Si electrodes have been resolved on the nanometer scale using a combination of scanning probe methods. Atomic-force microscopy (AFM) showed highly dispersed Pt nanoparticles. Conductive AFM measurements showed that only about half of the particles exhibited measurable contact currents, with a factor of 10^3 difference in current. Local current-voltage measurements revealed a rectifying junction with a resistance of ≥ 10 MΩ at the Pt-NP/p-Si interface, while Pt-NP/p+-Si samples formed an Ohmic junction with a local resistance of ≥ 1 MΩ. The particles were strongly attached to the sample surface in air. However in contact with an electrolyte, the adhesion of the particles to the surface was substantially lower. Scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) showed smaller, but more uniform electrochemical currents for the particles relative to the currents observed in conductive AFM measurements. In accord with the conductive AFM measurements, SECM measurements showed conductance through the substrate for only a minority of the particles. These results suggest that the electrochemical performance of the electrolessly deposited Pt nanoparticles on Si is ascribable to: 1) the high resistance of the contact between the particles and the substrate; 2) the low (<50%) fraction of particles that support high currents; and 3) the low adhesion of the particles to the surface in the electrolyte.