Newly Developed Electropolymerized Catalysts
Agroup of Chinese researchers recently provided the first detailed characterization of the electrochemical properties of polyaniline and polyaspartic acid (PASP) thin films. Reports from AIP Advances says that, the team used a wide range of tests to characterize the polymers, especially their capacity for catalyzing the oxidation of popularly used materials, hydroquinone and catechol. This new paper marks one of the first pairings of standard electrochemical tests with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis as these materials can be easily prepared in an electric field and are cost-effective and environmentally friendly
Here reducing the oxidation potential was the key for finding further uses for two materials used extensively as raw materials and synthetic intermediates in pharmaceuticals, hydroquinone and catechol.
To better understand these materials, the researchers tested how well PASP and polyaniline were able to oxidize hydroquinone and catechol using several standard electrochemical techniques, including attenuated total reflection Fournier transform infrared spectrophotometry, cyclic voltamme- try and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Using proton-based NMR, they monitored the progress of each reaction by directly measuring how quickly reactants were used and products were created.
The group discovered that the polymer-modified electrodes both improved conductivity. PASP's catalytic activity of both hydroquinone and catechol was found to outpace that of polyaniline by a factor of two. Later NMR studies confirmed that electrically induced molecular transformations allowed PASP to serve as a better catalyst.
The findings led the researchers to postulate that polyaspartic acid electropolymerized thin films might be more suitable for use as catalysts over polyaniline in many situations.