Study on Cupric Lactate Complexes in Electrodeposition of <111>-Oriented Copper(I) Oxide
Electrodeposition of Cu2O from aqueous solutions containing lactic acid and hydrated copper(II) salt has been reported in previous works[1-3]. It was revealed that Cu2O electrodeposited from pH 9.5 and 10.0 solution oriented <100> and those from pH 10.5, 11.5 and 12.5 solution oriented <111>, and <111>-oriented Cu2O could be electrodeposited even from pH 9.5 and 10.0 solution by lowering the cathode potential (see Fig. 1(b)). However, according to the E-pH diagram (see Fig. 1(a)) based on given thermodynamic data, above pH~8, it is expected that Cu2+ ion hydrolyzes and Cu(OH)2 precipitates. However, in our experiment, Cu2O was electrodeposited without any precipitation, implying that the stability regions for cupric lactate complexes are larger.
In this study, we performed titration and UV-vis absorption spectroscopy of solutions containing lactic acid and hydrated copper(II) salt. It is discussed what kinds of complexes exist in the solution and the orientation of Cu2O.
Aqueous solution containing lactic acid and hydrated copper(II) nitrate was examined by titration with potassium hydroxide aqueous solution. Above pH~4, deviation was observed from the calculated curve using given thermodynamic data; moreover, a theoretical plateau centered at pH~7.2 was not seen. As a result, formation of Cu(OH)2 seems not to be realistic.
Figure 2(b) demonstrates UV-vis absorption spectra of aqueous solutions containing lactic acid and hydrated copper(II) acetate at 2.0 < pH < 13.5. As pH increased from 6.0 to 9.0, blue shift was observed between 500 nm and 1000 nm, while red shift was seen between 300 nm and 400 nm. In addition, as pH increased from 9.0 to 10.5, the absorption edge shifted from about 420 nm to 380 nm. These results strongly suggest some kinds of cupric lactate complexes in the region of 6.0 < pH < 13.5.
Here, we assumed three complexes (Cu(OH)L2−, Cu(OH)2L−, CuL42− ) at 9.5 < pH < 12.5 and three Nernst equations with a corresponding number of protons and electrons (see Table I). Figure 1(b) shows relationship between the orientation of Cu2O and three assumed equations. For many cases, Cu2O electrodeposited from pH 9.5 and 10.0 solution oriented <100> and those from pH > 10.5 solution oriented <111>. Exceptionally, in the case of Eq.3, even at pH 9.5 and 10.0, we obtained <111>-oriented Cu2O when lowering the cathode potential because of increased current density proportional to v(CuOH) = k[Cu][OH] [2,3]. Suppose Eq.3 agrees with the experimental fact, since current density cannot be increased so large when lowering cathode poential considering deposition overpotential of Cu2O, Cu2O obtained from pH 9.5 and 10.0 solution should orient <100>. In consequence, Eq.3 may be inconsistent with the experimental fact and the unidentified cupric lactate complexes should be assumed as Cu(OH)L2− and/or Cu(OH)2L−.
 K. Mizuno et al., J. Electrochem. Soc., 152, C179 (2005).
 T. Shinagawa et al., Cryst. Growth Des., 13(1), 52 (2013).
 Y. Seki et al., Abstract 58, The ECS Meeting Abstracts, Vol. 2013-02, CA, USA, Oct 29, 2013.