Mapping Solvent Entrapment in Multiphase Systems by Electrogenerated Chemiluminescence

Matthew W. Glasscott, Silvia Voci, Philip J. Kauffmann, Andrei I. Chapoval, Jeffrey E. Dick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The interfacial properties of multiphase systems are often difficult to quantify. We describe the observation and quantification of immiscible solvent entrapment on a carbonaceous electrode surface using microscopy-coupled electrogenerated chemiluminescence (ECL). As aqueous microdroplets suspended in 1,2-dichloroethane collide with a glassy carbon electrode surface, small volumes of the solvent become entrapped between the electrode and aqueous phase, resulting in an overestimation of the true microdroplet/electrode contact area. To quantify the contribution of solvent entrapment decreasing the microdroplet contact area, we drive an ECL reaction within the microdroplet phase using tris(bipyridine)ruthenium(II) chloride ([Ru(bpy)3]Cl2) as the ECL luminophore and sodium oxalate (Na2C2O4) as the co-reactant. Importantly, the hydrophilicity of sodium oxalate ensures that the reaction proceeds in the aqueous phase, permitting a clear contrast between the aqueous and 1,2-dichloroethane present at the electrode interface. With the contrast provided by ECL imaging, we quantify the microdroplet radius, apparent microdroplet contact area (aqueous + entrapped 1,2-dichloroethane), entrapped solvent contact area, and the number of entrapped solvent pockets per droplet. These data permit the extraction of the true microdroplet/electrode contact area for a given droplet, as well as a statistical assessment regarding the probability of solvent entrapment based on microdroplet size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2907-2912
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 9 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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