The voltammetric characteristics of polycrystalline Au and W electrodes cleaned (thermal annealing at 1100 K) and characterized (Auger electron spectroscopy) in ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) have been examined in ultrapure AlCl 3/1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (EtMeImCl) melts in UHV. These experiments were performed using a custom-designed transfer system that allows for the all-Al electrochemical cell to be filled with EtMeImCl in an auxiliary UHV chamber and later transferred under UHV to the main UHV chamber that houses the Auger electron spectrometer. The results obtained for the underpotential (UPD) and bulk deposition of Al on Au were found to be very similar to those reported in the literature for measurements carried out under 1 atm of an inert gas in a glovebox. For the far more reactive W surfaces, voltammetric features ascribed to the stripping of underpotential-deposited Al could be observed following a single scan from 1.0 V vs Al 3+/Al to a potential negative enough for bulk deposition of Al to ensue. This behavior is unlike that reported in the literature for experiments performed in a glovebox, which required either extensive potential cycling in the Al bulk deposition and stripping region or excursions to potentials positive enough for chlorine evolution to ensue for Al UPD features to be clearly discerned. These observations open new prospects for fundamental electrochemical studies of well-characterized, highly reactive metals, including single crystals, in a variety of low vapor pressure ionic liquids.
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