A review: Scanning electrochemical microscopy (secm) for visualizing the real-time local catalytic activity

Anant Preet, Tzu-En Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) is a powerful scanning probe technique for measuring the in situ electrochemical reactions occurring at various sample interfaces, such as the liquid-liquid, solid-liquid, and liquid-gas. The tip/probe of SECM is usually an ultramicroelectrode (UME) or a nanoelectrode that can move towards or over the sample of interest controlled by a precise motor positioning system. Remarkably, electrocatalysts play a crucial role in addressing the surge in global energy consumption by providing sustainable alternative energy sources. Therefore, the precise measurement of catalytic reactions offers profound insights for designing novel catalysts as well as for enhancing their performance. SECM proves to be an excellent tool for characterization and screening catalysts as the probe can rapidly scan along one direction over the sample array containing a large number of different compositions. These features make SECM more appealing than other conventional methodologies for assessing bulk solutions. SECM can be employed for investigating numerous catalytic reactions including the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), oxygen evolution reaction (OER), hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), water oxidation, glucose oxidation reaction (GOR), and CO2 reduction reaction (CO2 RR) with high spatial resolution. Moreover, for improving the catalyst design, several SECM modes can be applied based on the catalytic reactions under evaluation. This review aims to present a brief overview of the recent applications of electrocatalysts and their kinetics as well as catalytic sites in electrochemical reactions, such as oxygen reduction, water oxidation, and methanol oxidation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number594
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Catalyst
  • Electrocatalysis
  • Scanning electrochemical microscopy
  • Ultramicroelectrode


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