A redox catalyst can be present in the solution phase or immobilized on the electrode surface. When the catalyst is present in the solution phase the process can proceed via inner- (with bond formation, chemical catalysis) or outer-sphere mechanisms (without bond formation, redox catalysis). For the latter, log k is linearly proportional to the redox potential of the catalysts, E°. In contrast, for inner-sphere catalyst, the values of k are much higher than those predicted by the redox potential of the catalyst. The behaviour of these catalysts when they are confined on the electrode surface is completely different. They all seem to work as inner-sphere catalysts where a crucial step is the formation of a bond between the active site and the target molecule. Plots of (log i)E versus E° give linear or volcano correlations. What is interesting in these volcano correlations is that the falling region corresponding to strong adsorption of intermediates to the active sites is not necessarily attributed to a gradual surface occupation of active sites by intermediates (Langmuir isotherm) but rather to a gradual decrease in the amount of M(II) active sites which are transformed into M(III)OH inactive sites due to the applied potential.
Part of the book: Redox