In the latest research study, published in AIP Advances, Chinese researchers put forward the identification of electrochemical attributes of polyaniline and polyaspartic acid (PASP) thin films. As the creation of polymers through electropolymerization has been gaining renewed attention, the team conducted various experiments to characterize the polymers, particularly for their ability to catalyze the oxidation of commonly used materials such as catechol and hydroquinone. The new experiment marks a unique pairings of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques and electrochemical tests in polymeric application.
According to Shuo-Hui Cao, an author of the study paper, these materials have potential to be widely used, can be easily arranged in an electric field, and are affordable as well as environment friendly. While PASP is known for its distinguished electrocatalytic responses to biomolecules, researchers have explored new areas of the material, including its capacity to minimize the oxidizing potential in oxidation-reduction reactions. This has led to the discovery of further application of catechol and hydroquinone which are extensively used as synthetic intermediates and raw materials in pharmaceutical industry.
Polymers like polyanaline are of low cost and have high conductivity. In order to understand the material, Cao and his team tested polyanaline and PASP to determine their highest potential to oxidize materials like hydroquinone and catechol. In the experiment, various standard electrochemical methods were used including electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, cyclic voltammetry, Electropolymerization and others. With the help of proton-based nuclear magnetic resonance, the researchers observed the progress of each reaction by directly measuring the utilization of reactants and development of products. The NMR technique enabled the researchers to determine the molecular structure and quantitative characteristics of the catalysts.
Through the experiments, it was discovered that the conductivity of both polymer-induced electrodes has improved; however catalytic activity of PASP on both materials was found to outperform that of polyanaline. In addition, NMR studies confirmed PASP to act as a better catalyst through electrically induced molecular transformations. As a result, the researchers postulated PASP thin films to be more suitable for its use as catalyst over polyanaline in several reactions.
The group believed that incorporation of two-dimensional techniques will allow them to identify new material features or expand their work for more complicated molecules.