This eChem laboratory manual contains seven experiments. It is written for students, faculty and practitioners who are interested in learning and practicing electrochemical techniques and their applications - and serves as a companion to the eCourseware on analytical electrochemistry. The experiments assume that the user has an understanding of the fundamentals of oxidation-reduction chemistry. These include definitions, conventions on oxidation and reduction (referred to as redox) reactions, use of Standard Electrode Potentials and the application of the Nemst relationship to compute electrode potentials. A review of what comprises an electrochemical cell, its sign conventions, and kinds of potentiometric and reference electrodes is recommended (Basic Concepts).
The experiments in this manual deal with voltammetric methods. That is, the simultaneous measurement of cell current and potential. Voltammetry moved to the mainstream of analytical methods when noble metals like Pt and Au, and carbonaceous materials became widely used as working electrodes. These materials, depending on the solution electrolyte, could be used over a wide range of potentials, especially in the anodic region, greatly expanding the scope of applications. Advances in instrumentation, methods and the mathematical relationships needed to interpret eChem responses have further increased applications areas. With additional capabilities such as very short-time measurements with high sensitivity and precision, it is now possible to use very small electrodes with micro-dimensions as probes to monitor electroactive biosubstances in cells and nerve synapses, or as detectors in capillary electrophoresis. Analytical electrochemistry now plays an important role in physiological measurements, materials characterization, metal corrosion, HPLC and LC detectors, battery and fuel cell research, and profiling surfaces at atomic dimensions, just to name a few. The intent of this eChem manual is to provide faculty, students and practitioners easy access to experiments that provide a pathway to learning electrochemical fundamentals while looking at some practical applications.
- Dr. Theodore Kuwana (University of Kansas)