In electrochemical impedance spectroscopy experiments (EIS) the diffusion of electroactive species at flat, macroscopic electrodes is commonly described by the Warburg element with the impedance expression

$$Z_W = \frac{σ}{\sqrt{w}} - i\frac{σ}{\sqrt{w}}$$

This means that the values have a phase angle of $-45^\circ$.

What is an intuitive way to understand the fact, that the Nernst-diffusion layer contributes both a real and imaginary part to the impedance of the system?

I find that it is relatively straightforward to understand that the more the diffusion layer grows, the shallower the concentration gradient gets and therefore that the current decreases. This would explain the real part. I am unsure however, where the imaginary part, or energy-storing component, fits into this picture.

It is very hard to find any information in this regard, as practically all literature treats this just as a result of the mathematical derivation of the faradaic impedance, but does not go into any kind of intuitive explanation.


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