ABSTRACT The experimental arrangement in this investigation was one in which a poly(o-aminophenol) (POAP) film was supported on a thin gold film electrode whose thickness is of the order of the mean free path of conduction electrons of gold. This arrangement allows one to apply the surface resistance technique to study the electrochemical processes occurring at the metal film surface coated with the polymer film. The dependence of the resistance change of the thin gold film electrode on the external electrolyte composition for polymer thickness lower than 0.25 mC.cm-2, was attributed to a competition, at the gold film surface, between the redox process of the polymer and adsorption of different ion species contained in the electrolyte. This competition reflects a discontinuous character of polymer thickness lower than 0.25 mC.cm-2 at the metal polymer interface. The resistance response of the metal film becomes independent of both the external electrolyte composition and polymer thickness for polymer thickness higher than 0.8 mC.cm-2. Then, POAP thicknesses higher than 0.8 mC.cm-2 seem to be compact enough at the metal polymer interface to prevent the interaction of the species contained in the supporting electrolyte with the gold film surface. The increase of the gold film resistance in going from the reduced to the oxidized state for POAP thicknesses higher than 0.8 mC.cm-2 was attributed to the redox conversion of poly(o-aminophenol) from amine to imine groups. This resistance increase was explained as a transition from specular to diffuse scattering of conduction electrons of gold at the gold poly(o-aminophenol) interface due to a less compact distribution of oxidised sites of POAP as compared with that of the reduced ones. An attenuation of the resistance response of the gold film was observed when the POAP films were deactivated either by contact with a ferric cation solution or prolonged potential cycling. The deactivation of the polymer film was attributed to the creation of inactive gaps within the redox sites configuration of POAP. The surface resistance technique allows one to detect different redox sites configurations of POAP on the gold film, according to the method used to deactivate the polymer films. In this work, it is demonstrated that the surface resistance technique can be employed to study not only the ability of a POAP film to inhibit the interaction of different species in solution with a metal surface but also the deactivation of the polymer film.
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