Formation of Highly Crystallized β-PbO Thin Films by Cathodic Electrodeposition of Pb and Its Rapid Oxidation in Air


  • The costs of the present study were defrayed in part by the Industrial Technology Research Grant Program in 2003 from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan (01B64002c) and a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (No. 15681005).


The process of electrodeposition of β-PbO thin films from aqueous solutions of PbII salts has been studied in detail. Contrary to the mechanism assumed in previous studies, thin films of crystalline β-PbO are obtained after cathodic electrolysis in aqueous solutions of various soluble salts of PbII (Pb(NO3)2, Pb(ClO4)2, and Pb(CH3COO)2), and in both the presence and the absence of O2, thus indicating no contribution of OH generation by electroreduction of NO3 and/or O2 to the formation of β-PbO. A gradual color change is noted: a freshly electrodeposited gray film turns yellow as it dries in air. Drying of the films under controlled atmosphere (Ar or O2), combined with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observation and X-ray diffraction (XRD) measurement, has revealed that freshly deposited films are of metallic Pb, which are oxidized and converted into β-PbO. Such a reaction is operative only when a freshly electrodeposited activated wet Pb film is in contact with gaseous O2. Despite the rapid conversion of a solid material, the resultant β-PbO thin films are highly crystallized and possess highly ordered internal nanostructure. Elongated nanoparticles (30 nm × 100 nm) are assembled in a regular alignment to compose a large platelet (greater than 10 μm in size) with single-crystalline character, as revealed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observation and selected-area electron diffraction (SAED) measurement.