Evidence of Radical Intermediate Generated In the Electrochemical Oxidation of Iodide

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Chemistry and Biochemistry


Mathematics and Natural Sciences


We present evidence of the generation of radical ion formation during the oxidation of iodide on a fluorine doped tin oxide (FTO) electrode in acetonitrile. The cyclic voltammograms for the oxidation of iodide and triiodide on FTO are significantly different as in the case of the oxidation of Pt electrode. These differences are assigned to kinetic differences on the FTO surface that require significant over potentials to drive the oxidation of iodide and triiodide. We propose that at the highly positive potentials the iodine radical intermediate, I·, becomes thermodynamically stable at FTO. The radical nature of the intermediate was verified by the formation of radicals of the usual traps of 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide (DMPO) and 2,2,5,5 tetramethyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide (TMPO) when these were added to an electrolyzed solution. Irradiation of an iodine solution causes the homolytic cleavage of I2 and yields the same radical intermediate with TMPO as in the electrolysis experiment. Similar results were obtained from the electrolysis of bromide solutions upon addition of TMPO. Short term electrolysis (< 1 h) gives triiodide as a final product while long-term electrolysis (> 17 h) yields additional byproducts. Byproducts were determined to be organoiodines by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Overall, our results are consistent with iodine atoms reacting with the electrolyte during electrolysis at the FTO electrode and with a sequential two-electron transfer process.

Publication Title

Journal of the Mexican Chemical Society





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