The Scanning Electrochemical Microscope (SECM) is a nonoptical scanning microscopic instrument capable of imaging highly localized electrical currents associated with charge transfer reactions on metallic biomaterials surfaces. The SECM operates as an aqueous electrochemical cell under bipotentiostatic control with a microelectrode and sample independently biased as working electrodes. Microelectrode current and position is recorded as it is scanned very near a metallurgically polished planar sample surface. To date, the SECM has imaged metallic biomaterials surfaces in oxygen reaction rate imaging (ORRI) and ion release and deposition imaging (IRDI) modes. In ORRI, sample and microelectrode are biased at sufficiently negative potentials to reduce absorbed oxygen. As the microelectrode scans areas of active oxygen reduction, localized diffusion fields with decreased oxygen solution concentrations are encountered and resultant decrements in microelectrode current are observed. In IRDI mode the sample is positively biased and the microelectrode is negatively biased. The microelectrode detects anodic dissolution products with highest currents being observed over the most active areas. Performance of the SECM has been evaluated on Ni minigrids, γ‐1 Hg‐Ag dental amalgam crystals, and sintered beads of Co‐Cr‐Mo alloy which represent significantly different geometries and corrosion processes to help demonstrate the potential of this instrument. The SECM is a valuable tool for imaging microelectrochemical processes on the surfaces of metallurgically polished metallic biomaterials samples and a wide variety of other surfaces of biological interest where charge transfer reactions occur. The SECM allows selective biasing of metallic biomaterials surfaces and Faradaic reactions can be selectively imaged while the surface is in the active, passive, or transpassive state. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering