The fine tuning of deep eutectic solvents (DES) via the addition of co-solvents such as water or excess ethylene glycol, to improve the electrodeposition of metals is becoming increasingly common. However, as these changes become commonplace, our understanding of their effect must deepen as well. In this work, we look into how water, a secondary hydrogen bond donor (HBD), added to choline chloride:ethylene glycol (1:2 ChCl:EG) DES changes the electrochemical behaviour of the solution. We use time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) to identify and map the organic molecules that have interacted with the surface. A copper surface was used as an electrochemically active substrate. The molecular maps provide insights into how solvent composition changes electrolyte reactivity, as well as showing the main driver behind the entrapment of organic compounds in metal deposits from DES. This behaviour was studied at different potentials based on the information provided by linear sweep voltammetry data of the copper in the solution. These results are then contrasted against a 1:4 ChCl:EG solution, where the excess ethylene glycol acts as secondary HBD, in order to determine the individual contributions of the co-solvents and how they affect the electrochemistry of the media and their reactions with the copper electrode. This information can be used as a set of guidelines for the tuning and optimisation of ethylene glycol based DES for metal deposition.
- Non-aqueous solvents
- Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry