Outlook and conclusions

As demonstrated above, atomic-scale, in-situ STM studies are an excellent method for the analysis of the microscopic processes involved in the nucleation and growth of two- and three-dimensional phases at the metal-electrolyte interface. By controlling the growth rate via potential and diffusion, time-resolved STM observations are feasible for a wide range of processes. In the future, studies of anionic and organic adsorbates, for which an extensive body of thermodynamic and kinetic data exists, will gain importance but also studies of metal deposition in the under- and overpotential regime will continue to attract considerable interest. In addition, more work on reactive surfaces, such as Pt, Cu, and transition-metal electrodes, is expected to emerge. Progress here is closely correlated with progress in the preparation of clean, atomically flat metal surfaces required for high-resolution STM experiments. These experiments in well-defined systems will lead to a better understanding of the atomic processes, which form the microscopic basis of the complex but technically important problems in applied electrochemistry, corrosion science, and electrocatalysis.

Acknowledgment We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of J. Hotlos, J. Hageböck, J. Kintrup, and C.M. Schilz, who contributed to individual topics presented in this work.

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