Electrode-Solution Interface: Distribution of Ions around an Electrode

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What happens if a bar of a noble metal is immersed in an electrolyte solution such as ? Due to the difference between the electric potential of the metal and the electrode-solution interface, the ions will move to equalize the total charge. This Demonstration shows the distribution of ions (cation and anion ) near an electrode surface and also the variation of potential with distance from the electrode, as functions of concentration.

Contributed by: Quang-Dao Trinh (July 2012)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



The distribution of ions is based on the Gouy–Chapman theory. The concentration profiles of and are colored blue and red, respectively. The electrode is positioned at . The filled part on the potential diagram represents the Debye length (a characteristic distance at which significant charge separation can occur). The red and blue points represent and ions, respectively.

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