Instrumental configurations for the determination of sub-micromolar concentrations of electroactive species with carbon, gold and platinum microdisk electrodes in static and flow-through cells

J. W. Bixler, A. M. Bond, P. A. Lay, W. Thormann, P. van den Bosch, M. Fleischmann, B. S. Pons

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Microelectrodes should provide a greater analytical sensitivity than electrodes of conventional size. However, the detection of micromolar or lower concentrations with microdisk electrodes requires measurement of femtoamp currents, which is outside the range of most commercially available instrumentation. The novel use of a picoammeter or femto-ammeter as a current amplifier permits commercial instrumentation to be used with microdisk electrodes. Such instrumentation incorporating a picoammeter or femtoammeter is limited by the relatively slow rise time; this places restrictions on scan rates in all voltammetric techniques and on pulse widths in transient techniques such as differential pulse and square wave voltammetry. Because of the small currents, the ohmic (iR) drop is very small and polarization of the reference electrode is unimportant; thus a two-electrode format without a potentiostat can be used. Consequently, a microprocessor-based function generator and data storage system, in conjunction with a pico- or femto-ammeter, is satisfactory in providing inexpensive, versatile and very sensitive instrumentation for voltammetric detection with microdisk electrodes. Convenient methods for fabricating platinum, gold and carbon microdisk electrodes for use in stationary and flowing solution configurations are also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-77
Number of pages11
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Issue numberC
Publication statusPublished - 1986

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