The hydroquinone/quinone (H2Q/Q) redox system was tethered to glassy carbon surfaces using first an electrochemical pre-oxidation treatment to afford carboxylic acid functionalities followed by immobilizing the H2Q precursor, n-(2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)alkan-1-amine (general structure: H2N-(CH2)n-C6H3(OCH3)2, n = 1, 2, 4, 8, and 12), by carbodiimide chemistry and a final demethylation reaction. The resultant surfaces exhibited the expected chemical reversibility in aqueous solution with a pH-sensitive position of the formal potential (∼55 mV/pH unit), and an increase in the peak potential separation going from 0.02 V for n = 1 to 0.21 V for n = 12. The films were very robust and could withstand prolonged sonication and relatively large potential excursions. While the films followed the expected kinetic distance dependence for up to 4 methylene units the electrode kinetics was faster than expected for longer alkyl spacers. We suggest that film disorder, electrode-mediating effects, and a roughened electrode material could account for these apparent inconsistencies. To further understand such effects, two complementary electrode modification strategies leading to better film ordering on carbon were adapted; immobilizing a thin layer of benzoic acid by oxidative deposition of 4-aminobenzoic acid or employing a plasma deposition process to tether an acid analogue. Analysis of the various electrodes was accomplished by electrochemical methods, atomic force microscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.
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