Modern Aspects of Electrochemistry No. 6
In the last decade, the evolution of electrochemistry away from concern with the physical chemistry of solutions to its more fruitful goal in the study of the widespread consequences of the transfer of electric charges across interphases has come to fruition. The turning of technology away from an onward rush, regardless, to progress which takes into account repercussions of techno logical activity on the environment, and the consequent need for a reduction and then termination of the injection of CO into 2 the atmosphere (greenhouse effect), together with a reckoning with air and water pollution in general, ensures a long-term need for advances in a basic knowledge of electrochemical systems, an increased technological use of which seems to arise from the environmental necessities. But a mighty change in attitude needs to spread among electro chemists (indeed, among all surface chemists) concerning the terms and level in which their field is discussed. The treatment of charge transfer reactions has often been made too vaguely, in terms, it seemed, of atom transfer, with the electron-transfer step, the essence of electrochemistry, an implied accompaniment to the transfer of ions across electrical double layers. The treatment has been in terms of classical mechanics, only tenable while inadequate questions were asked concerning the behavior of the electron in the interfacial transfer. No process demands a more exclusively quantal discussion than does electron transfer.
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