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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 11 Issue 1 (2006) pp 23-28

An Inexpensive Field-Portable Programmable Potentiostat

Ashwini Vittal Gopinath and Dale Russell*

Department of Chemistry, Boise State University, Boise, ID 83725-1520,
Received June 10, 2005. Accepted July 13, 2005.

Published online: 6 December 2005

Abstract. The design and construction of a small, simple, rugged, inexpensive programmable potentiostat is presented. This experiment is intended for students in advanced analytical and integrated laboratory courses, in which students often study electronics and build instruments in order to better understand design, function, and optimization. It is also suitable for independent student projects in analytical instrumentation or electrochemistry, including projects involving field-portable electrochemical instrumentation. Advanced high school students interested in chemical instrumentation would find it within their ability as a special project provided they have a working knowledge of electronic circuits. This experiment requires students to use electronic devices and components, including op amps, to build a control circuit for electroanalytical experiments. The total cost of this potentiostat is less than $50 making it cost effective for individual or small-group experiments and special projects. Potentiostat dimensions are 3 cm 13 cm on a printed circuit board. The simple circuit presented here is solid state, amenable to battery-powered operation, and if interfaced to an appropriate electrochemical cell, can be used as a rugged, field-portable electrochemical sensor system for monitoring environmental contaminants. Test results using potassium ferricyanide in cyclic voltammetric mode are presented to show the operation of the instrument. Linear correlation of anodic and cathodic peak heights with analyte concentration is demonstrated though a range of concentrations with a correlation factor of greater than 0.99.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; analytical chemistry; instrumental; electrochemistry; potentiostat; cyclic voltammetry

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Issue date: February 1, 2006

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