User Manual for Electrochemical Methods for Windows version 4.9

User Manual for Electrochemical Methods for Windows version 4.9
User Manual
for
Electrochemical Methods
for Windows
version 4.9
Eco Chemie B.V.
P.O. Box 85163
3508 AD Utrecht
The Netherlands
 Copyright 2001 Eco Chemie
Table of contents
1
1. ELECTROCHEMICAL EXPERIMENTS WITH AUTOLAB ............................................................3
1.1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................................... 3
1.2 THE FLOW OF EVENTS: PRETREATMENT , MEASUREMENT , AND POST TREATMENT .................................. 3
1.3 CONFIGURING THE MEASUREMENT PARAMETERS.......................................................................................... 4
Capacitive process ...............................................................................................................................................4
Faradaic processes ..............................................................................................................................................4
2. VOLTAMMETRIC ANALYSIS ....................................................................................................................7
2.1 OVERVIEW OF TECHNIQUES............................................................................................................................... 7
2.2 SAMPLED DC....................................................................................................................................................... 7
2.3 NORMAL PULSE VOLTAMMETRY ...................................................................................................................... 8
2.4 DIFFERENTIAL PULSE VOLTAMMETRY............................................................................................................. 9
2.5 DIFFERENTIAL NORMAL PULSE VOLTAMMETRY .......................................................................................... 10
2.6 SQUARE WAVE VOLTAMMETRY...................................................................................................................... 10
2.7 AC VOLTAMMETRY.......................................................................................................................................... 11
2.8 AC SECOND HARMONIC VOLTAMMETRY ...................................................................................................... 12
3. CYCLIC AND LINEAR SWEEP VOLTAMMETRY...........................................................................15
3.1 OVERVIEW OF TECHNIQUES............................................................................................................................. 15
3.2 NORMAL MODE (STAIRCASE ) .......................................................................................................................... 16
3.3 STATIONARY CURRENT .................................................................................................................................... 16
3.4 S CAN AVERAGING............................................................................................................................................. 17
3.5 CURRENT INTEGRATION .................................................................................................................................. 17
3.6 GALVANOSTATIC CYCLIC VOLTAMMETRY ................................................................................................... 17
3.7 FAST SCAN VOLTAMMETRY ............................................................................................................................. 17
3.8 LINEAR CV SCANS WITH THE SCAN-GEN MODULE.................................................................................. 18
3.9 HYDRODYNAMIC LINEAR SWEEP VOLTAMMETRY WITH AN RDE.............................................................. 18
4. CHRONO METHODS....................................................................................................................................19
4.1 S COPE OF TECHNIQUES..................................................................................................................................... 19
4.2 OVERVIEW OF TECHNIQUES >0.1S.................................................................................................................. 19
4.3 OVERVIEW OF TECHNIQUES <0.1S.................................................................................................................. 20
5. MULTIMODE ELECTROCHEMICAL DETECTION.......................................................................21
6. POTENTIOMETRIC STRIPPING ANALYSIS .....................................................................................23
6.1 OVERVIEW AND IMPLEMENTATION................................................................................................................ 23
6.2 CHEMICAL STRIPPING VERSUS GALVANOSTATIC STRIPPING....................................................................... 23
7. STEPS AND SWEEPS ....................................................................................................................................25
8. ELECTROCHEMICAL NOISE (ECN)....................................................................................................27
8.1 TRANSIENT ........................................................................................................................................................ 27
9. FREQUENCY RESPONSE ANALYSIS WITH THE FRA MODULE............................................29
9.1 P RINCIPLES OF ELECTROCHEMICAL FREQUENCY ANALYSIS....................................................................... 29
9.2 RECORDING IMPEDANCE ’S AT A SINGLE POTENTIAL OR CURRENT ............................................................ 30
9.3 RECORDING IMPEDANCE POTENTIAL /CURRENT SCANS................................................................................ 31
9.4 RECORDING IMPEDANCE TIME SCANS ............................................................................................................ 31
9.5 HYDRODYNAMIC IMPEDANCE M EASUREMENTS.......................................................................................... 32
10. ADVANCED ISSUES ...................................................................................................................................33
10.1 OHMIC POTENTIAL DROP COMPENSATION .................................................................................................. 33
10.2 DYNAMIC OHMIC DROP COMPENSATION .................................................................................................... 33
10.3 A UTOMATIC DC CURRENT RANGING............................................................................................................ 34
10.4 SAMPLING TECHNIQUES................................................................................................................................. 35
10.5 M ANAGEMENT OF ELECTRICAL CONNECTIONS TO THE ELECTRODES ..................................................... 36
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Cell on and cell off events.................................................................................................................................36
Switching from potentiostat to galvanostat ...................................................................................................37
10.6 RECORDING M ULTIPLE CHANNELS, BIPOT AND SECOND SIGNALS....................................................... 37
INDEX......................................................................................................................................................................39
Chapter 1
Electrochemical experiments with Autolab
3
1. Electrochemical experiments with Autolab
1.1 Introduction
In this overview, the electrochemical methods available with an Autolab instrument
are discussed. Each technique will be explained in a concise manner, supplemented
with detailed information about Autolab’s technical implementation.
It is the intention to help the operator in choosing the most appropriate technique and
to reach an optimal configuration in each electrochemical environment.
One should keep in mind that it is not always possible to select the optimal settings
beforehand. Occasionally it will be necessary to perform some "trial runs" using
different parameters. However, the instructions in the following sections should be
helpful to reach optimal performance readily.
1.2 The flow of events: pretreatment, measurement, and post treatment
In electrochemical experiments it is often desirable to reach a predefined state
preceding the actual measurement. When required, the electrode can be put in a
certain electrochemical state by applying a potential for a desired duration or by the
removal of oxygen from the solution (purging).
Table 1: Flow of events
pretreatment
stage
purging
period
conditioning deposition
period
period
potential1
cell off
conditioning deposition
potential(s) potential
stirrer
off
on
measurement
post
treatment
equilibrium scan
standby
period
execution state
initial/start/
standby
potential
off
scan
potentials
cell off/ cell
at standby
potential
Be aware that not all these stages are always available. Automatic purging and stirring
is related to the presence of dedicated hardware. Also, depending on their relevance
for each technique and on requests made by electrochemists in the past, some stages
are implemented for specific methods only. Furthermore, multiple potentials can be
specified in a single stage. For instance, most techniques allow the application of 3
conditioning potentials (except for Voltammetric Analysis, Electro Chemical
Detection, and Potential Stripping Analysis). In some cases an option is provided to
limit the duration of a stage by a limiting condition, for example: stop the equilibrium
process when a threshold current has been reached.
1
For galvanostatic operation, currents are applied instead of potentials.
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Stages may be disabled by the operator by entering a duration of 0 seconds. In that
case, the corresponding potential/current will not be applied.
Though the individual pretreatment stages have been named with a particular purpose
in mind, it is the operator who determines which processes actually will take place in
the electrochemical object by specifying the potential (or current) levels.
On completion of the measurement stage, consideration should be given to what is
supposed to happen to the electrode. Especially when measurements have to be
repeated with the same electrode, a choice must be made whether the electrode should
be kept polarised (standby potential) or be disconnected (cell off after measurement).
1.3 Configuring the measurement parameters
After deciding on an electrochemical method, its procedure should be parameterised.
Finding the optimum set of parameters is not always trivial and requires prior
knowledge about the electrochemical properties of the subject under investigation.
The objective of the measurement should be clear. For instance, if one is interested in
the determination of a faradaic current, the capacitive current is unwanted and should
be kept as small as possible. However, when adsorption or double layer properties are
under study, the opposite might be true.
At an electrode surface, two fundamental electrochemical processes can be
distinguished:
Capacitive process
Capacitive currents are caused by the (dis-)charge of the electrode surface as a result
of changes in the area size (dropping mercury electrode) , by a potential variation, or
by an adsorption process. There is no reaction involved here. Under potentiostatic
conditions, this process tends to be very fast and the resulting current will expire in a
short time (usually a few milliseconds). This current can thus be reduced by choosing
slower scan rates or pulse widths of longer duration. It should be noted that in high
resistance media, the capacitive current will need a substantially longer period to fall
off: this time is proportional to the product of the resistance and the capacitance.
Faradaic processes
Faradaic currents are a result of electrochemical reactions at the electrode surface.
From the determination of the magnitude of such a current, one can obtain useful
parameters as concentration and diffusion coefficient of a species. Furthermore, from
the position of the current peak (peak potential), the nature of the species can be
deduced. Usually under potentiostatic conditions, faradaic currents are slower to
diminish than capacitive currents. However, when reactant depletion occurs, a
faradaic current will also decrease with time. The scan rate/pulse duration should
therefore be chosen slow/long enough to reduce the charging current, without letting
the magnitude of the faradaic current decline below noise level.
Another strategy must be followed when electrode kinetics are to be studied. Due to
the limiting effect of mass transfer, the influence of reaction rate, or corrosion
resistance will only be expressed on short time scales, making it necessary to employ
short pulses, fast scan rates, or high frequencies. It will be clear that in such cases,
there might be an overlap with the capacitive current. Usually in these cases, one will
Chapter 1
Electrochemical experiments with Autolab
5
employ a range of scan rates, pulse duration’s, or frequencies allowing for a detailed
analysis of the electrochemical components and their impedance’s.
Autolab does provide a set of default values, which can be adjusted in accordance
with the requirements of each situation. Entry of the procedure parameters is designed
to be as flexible and interactive as possible. For instance, it is allowed to change some
parameters while a measurement is in progress and changes can be put into effect
immediately by means of the "send" button (changes must first be validated with the
<enter> key).
Some parameters that are directly related to the hardware or configure advanced
operational issues cannot be edited in the measurement software. These parameters
are stored in the Hardware Configuration File, which is located in the Autolab root
directory named as: <sysdef40.inp>. This file can be edited by means of the Hardware
Setup Program: <hardware.exe>. One can edit this file by hand with any text editor as
well. However, care should be exercised with this practice.
In the following chapters, additional information is listed for each specific technique.
Chapter 2
Voltammetric analysis
7
2. Voltammetric analysis
2.1 Overview of techniques
All voltammetric techniques have in common that a potential range is scanned, as
defined by initial-, end- and step- potential. All potentials are rounded to the nearest
discrete voltage level that is available. At the end of each interval time, just prior to
the next step, a data point will be collected. Therefore, the number of samples is equal
to the potential range divided by the step size. In this manner, the duration of the
complete scan is determined by the number of samples multiplied by the interval time.
The actual details of data sampling are explained in the paragraph about sampling
techniques. Usually, the measurement period (=acquisition time) is taken at the last
quarter of the interval time, if possible rounded to a multiple of the line period, that is
20ms (50Hz) or 16.67ms(60Hz).
If during normal/differential pulse or square wave operation, the applied pulse is
shorter than 40ms, the data acquisition is performed in the last half of the pulse
period. It should be noted that noise levels can increase considerably when the
measurement period is not a multiple of the line frequency.
In ac-voltammetry the current response is always acquired during the last half of the
modulation time.
Since these methods are often used for polarography, the option to control a drop
knocker is provided. When the interval time>0.5 s and the deposition time=0, the
drops are knocked off after each data point and all measurements within the scan are
performed on different drops.
2.2 Sampled DC
Fig. 1 Sampled DC
This technique is classically applied to mercury electrodes and is also called "tast
polarography". In practice, interval times are in the range 0.5-6 seconds for
polarography. On short time scales, there is relatively more interference due to the
capacitive currents, while at longer times noise problems increase since the total
current will keep falling off due to reactant depletion. In favourable circumstances,
detection limits of ca 10-6 M are obtainable.
This technique can also be used for non-polarographic applications at interval times
lower than 0.5 seconds. However, when fast scan speeds are required, the "linear
sweep voltammetry" technique might be more appropriate.
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The implementation of this technique is fairly straightforward. The potential is
scanned through the defined range. The current is sampled at the end of each potential
step.
Usually potential step heights are in the order of several millivolts. Choosing smaller
steps will yield a finer resolution on the potential scale, but will increase measurement
duration.
2.3 Normal pulse voltammetry
Fig. 2 Normal pulse voltammetry
While applying sampled dc, the reactions are allowed to proceed during the whole
interval time. As a result, the region near the electrode is depleted from reactant,
lowering the faradaic current. Furthermore, reaction product can accumulate on the
electrode, poisoning its surface.
To decrease these detrimental effects, the normal pulse technique was developed.
Here, the electrode is kept at an inactive potential for most of the interval time: the
base potential. Just prior to the measurement, the electrolysis potential is applied: the
normal pulse. Concerning the duration of the pulse period, the familiar discussion
applies here: a shorter pulse will yield response with a higher magnitude but the ratio
of (unwanted) capacitive current will be higher as well.
This technique is approximately a factor 10 more sensitive than sampled dc. However,
the data analysis is more complicated. Furthermore, since the time scale employed is
shorter, it is possible to experience effects due to irreversibility of the electrode
reaction. Then again, that might be just the objective.
The parameters for this method are chosen similarly to sampled dc, with the addition
of a pulse time. Normally, a reasonable value for the pulse time would be about 50ms.
Internally, the software will try to adopt a sampling period that complies the line
period. When the pulse period is larger than 40ms, it will collect samples and average
them during the last 20ms (for 50Hz line frequency).
Chapter 2
Voltammetric analysis
9
2.4 Differential pulse voltammetry
Fig. 3 Differential pulse voltammetry
A pulse of constant amplitude is modulated on top of a potential scan not unlike
sampled dc. Now, the current is sampled just before and at the end of the modulation
pulse, recording the difference as the result. Obtained waves resemble the first
derivative of a sampled dc scan, thus a peak.
Compared to the normal pulse technique, one can distinguish faradaic waves better
from the background due to the larger 2nd derivative of the current/potential relation
for faradaic processes. Since the modulation amplitude is constant, capacitive current
will be expressed as a more or less constant baseline. Electro -oxidizable and reducible substances on the other hand, will appear as recognisable peaks.
Detection limits of 10-8M are possible, though one should be aware of the increasing
probability to encounter irreversible phenomena. The latter can be detected by a shift
of the voltammetric peak to more negative (reduction) or positive (oxidation)
potentials and by the lowering of the peak with decreasing modulation time.
When choosing the potential steps and interval time, the same rules apply as for
normal pulse voltammetry. The modulation amplitude should preferably be in the
range 5-100 mV. Larger amplitudes will yield a stronger response, but will also
broaden the peak, lowering potential resolution. Moreover, the peaks can be distorted
due to non-linearity effects at larger amplitudes.
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2.5 Differential normal pulse voltammetry
Fig. 4 Differential normal pulse voltammetry
This is a hybrid of differential pulse and normal pulse voltammetry. Similar to the
normal pulse method, a pulse will be superimposed on a base potential. On top of this
pulse a modulation step with definable amplitude and duration is applied. The current
just before and at the end of the modulation step will be measured and the difference
will be stored. In this manner, the advantages of normal pulse (short electrolysis time)
are combined with those of differential pulse (pronounced faraday currents).
The pulse time and modulation time are subject to similar considerations, and their
magnitudes correspond with that in normal and differential pulse voltammetry.
Since its waveform is rather complex, care should be taken not to confuse parameters.
For instance, the step potential and interval time define the relation between
consecutive data points, and are not related to the properties of the pulses applied in a
single measurement!
Please note that this implementation of differential normal pulse voltammetry is
different from the description in: "Electrochemistry" by C.M.A.Brett and
A.M.Oliviera Brett, Oxford University Press 1993.
2.6 Square wave voltammetry
Fig. 5 Square wave voltammetry
During square wave voltammetry the potential is scanned as in sampled dc, but an
additional square wave is applied. The recorded curve is the difference between the
Chapter 2
Voltammetric analysis
11
average currents in the forward and the reverse pulse, sampled just before each flank.
The main advantage of this technique over differential pulse voltammetry is the
increased number of samples, enabling higher scan speeds while retaining a good
resolution on the potential axis.
The implementation is somewhat different from the other voltammetric techniques.
Now, the interval time is implicitly determined by the reciprocal square wave
frequency. Thus the scan rate is proportional to the frequency.
Each data point corresponds to the measured current at the high level, minus the
current at the low level. The duration or acquisition time of the measurements is
determined by the previously explained rules, taking half the square wave period as
the pulse duration.
Reasonable amplitudes are in the range of 5-25 mV. Larger amplitudes yield a larger
response, but faradaic peaks will get broader and potential resolution will be lost at
very large amplitudes. Please note that the amplitude corresponds with half the peakpeak potential difference of the square wave.
A proper choice of frequency is of the utmost importance. Similar to using short pulse
duration’s in pulse voltammetry, the influence of capacitive current is larger at high
frequencies.
The bandwidth of the Autolab potentiostat is lower at low current ranges as well.
Therefore, the software will mark the lower current ranges red in cases where the
current range is not suitable for the specified frequency. Of course the operator can
choose to ignore such hints, but might be advised to be cautious. Normally, the useful
frequency range is 8-250Hz.
2.7 AC voltammetry
Fig. 6 AC voltammetry
With ac voltammetry, a sine wave signal is superimposed on the voltage scan. For
small amplitudes, the electrochemical interface can be treated as a linear electrical
circuit, for which impedance’s admittance’s can be determined. These impedance’s
are related to electrochemical parameters and can be used to obtain information
about electrode kinetics, electrosorption, etc.
Usually, the results obtained with sine wave methods contain more capacitive current
than square waves results. This might be considered a disadvantage. However, the
mathematical analysis can be performed with more rigour. For instance, the
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capability to separate inphase and outphase current components, greatly facilitates
interpretation. Even more powerful is the frequency variation technique with the FRA
module that will be discussed later.
The ac voltammetry implementation discussed in this paragraph, does not require the
FRA module.
The basics of the potential scan are the same as for sampled dc and can be specified
by initial-, end- and step-potential. Again 2 consecutive data points are separated by
the interval time.
The ac amplitude is specified as the root mean square value. It will be applied only at
the modulation period that is situated at the end of the interval period. The actual
measurement is conducted in the last half of that modulation period.
The waveform of the perturbation waveform is constructed from a wave table and
applied (after digital to analog conversion) to the potentiostat periodically, while
sampling the currents at the same time.
Note that the number of points that are sampled within a waveform period are related
to the frequency of the chosen perturbation and the maximum sampling rate of the
Autolab.
The waveform of the perturbing potential is sampled once before the measurement
starts. Its Fourier transform will be stored to be used as a reference to calculate the
impedance’s. During the measurement periods, the current will be sampled and
stored. When all samples have been collected, a Fast Fourier Transform is calculated.
From the results at the principal frequency, the impedance will be calculated
(phase+magnitude). Depending whether "Phase sensitive " is checked, the final result
will be determined. If not set, the absolute value of impedance will be kept. When the
option is set, the indicated phase will be used to calculate the response congruent to
that phase: a phase setting of 0 degrees will lock on the inphase (ohmic) response,
while a setting of -90 degrees will yield the capacitive signal.
When choosing the frequency, the familiar arguments arise. At higher frequencies,
there will be more influence of the capacitive process and kinetic phenomena.
In the Autolab instruments containing a FRA module, the ac methods should be
performed with the FRA program. The ac voltammetry method in the GPES software
is not available for this combination.
2.8 AC second harmonic voltammetry
Most electrochemical objects have a non-linear relation with potential: usually an
exponential dependence. Therefore, the impedance approach is only realistic at low
amplitudes. At higher amplitudes, a sine wave perturbation will produce a whole
range of harmonics. Sometimes it is useful to utilise this property of electrochemical
objects and focus on the (2nd order) quadratic response that will be expressed at the
double frequency of the perturbation.
The 2nd order wave somewhat resembles a second derivative of the sampled dc,
though the exact mathematical description is rather complex. Please note that the
second harmonic result cannot be called impedance in the classical sense. The
definition of the phase is also unconventional.
Chapter 2
Voltammetric analysis
The implementation of this technique is very similar to the one described in the
previous paragraph. However, instead of focussing on the principal frequency, the
second harmonic is extracted from the FFT spectrum.
A central parameter here is the perturbation amplitude that should be chosen rather
large in order to obtain a substantial result. Keep in mind that the response will be
proportional to the quadratic amplitude of the perturbing signal.
13
Chapter 3
Cyclic and linear sweep voltammetry
15
3. Cyclic and linear sweep voltammetry
3.1 Overview of techniques
Cyclic voltammetry is probably the most popular electrochemical technique for solid
electrodes. The ability to obtain reproducible results, at least for subsequent cycles, is
invaluable for relatively badly defined electrode surfaces. Also, the possibility to
observe the reduction wave and the oxidation wave simultaneously is quite helpful in
the investigation of electrode processes. Several electrode kinetic and electrosorption
processes can be studied in detail from the analysis of cyclic voltammograms
recorded at various scan rates.
Using these techniques, again a potential/ current scan is applied. However, the
implementation is different. The principal parameter is the scan rate. Now the sample
interval will be equal to scan rate/step potential. Here, the measurement period is
defined by ¼ of the interval time and for reasons of noise reduction will be rounded to
a multiple of the line period: 20ms (or 16.67ms) with a maximum of 1 second.
Obviously, for intervals shorter than 80ms, this is not possible and a measurement
period of exactly ¼ of the interval time will be used. For sample intervals from 25ms
to 80ms this behaviour can be overridden by pressing the "Mean" button that will fix
the measurement period to 1 line cycle, thus eliminating line noise maximally.
In cyclic voltammetry, it is often desirable to perform the measurement scan (cycle)
repeatedly in sequence, as a part of the electrode conditioning process, or to monitor
the electrochemical processes with time.
In principle, the number of data points that can be stored is only limited by the
capacity of the PC, but for practical reasons the total limit is put to 30,000 points by
default, with a 10,000 maximum for individual scans. If so desired, these limits can be
adjusted by editing record [3,3] and record [3,4] of the hardware configuration file.
One scan contains: "2*ABS(1st vertex potential – 2nd vertex potential )/step potential"
data points. When during cycling the maximum number of scans has been reached,
the eldest scan will be overwritten, thus the last scans will always be available in
memory.
On screen, the most recent results will be shown. However, at fast sample rates, the
computer lacks the time to plot all data points and only a few will be visible. All
points will be replotted after the scan has finished.
The consecutive scans are stored in memory, in the sequence in which they were
recorded. Each individual scan can be selected, analysed, and/or stored to disk.
When more than one scan is to be recorded in cyclic voltammetry, it is possible to
save scans at regular intervals during the measurements. For this purpose, the
parameter Save every nth cycle is introduced on page two of the Edit procedure
window. If this parameter is zero, no scans will be saved during the measurements,
otherwise every nth scan will be stored on disk. If, e.g. ‘5’ is specified, scan 1, 5, 10,
15 are saved. The path and the first three characters of the file name can be specified
on page two of the Edit procedure window. ('Direct output filename'). The last five
characters of the file name will be used as the scan number.
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It is possible to record a second signal (or BIPOT signal) by selecting this option on
page 2 of the Procedure window. Be aware that this option is not available when using
an ADC750 module during the measurement.
When a Ring-Disk electrode is utilised and a BIPOT module is present, Iring versus
Idisk plots can be constructed. In the Data presentation window, ‘WE2 vs. WE plot’
should be selected from the Analysis menu item.
The linear sweep method requires the same parameters as cyclic voltammetry and its
implementation is nearly identical. The difference is that the sweep is in one direction
while the cyclic method also includes a backward scan. For the linear sweep, one can
only define start- and end-potential, whereas 2 vertex potentials are required for the
cyclic technique.
3.2 Normal mode (staircase)
When using the normal staircase mode, the potential increases will be applied as
steps at the end of each interval time. Usually, this is advantageous since it diminishes
capacitive current in the same manner as pulse voltammetry. However, when one is
interested in adsorption phenomena or UPD, this behaviour is unwanted. In the latter
case, one should choose the linear scan mode utilising the SCAN-GEN module, or one
should apply the current integration method discussed in one of the following
paragraphs.
After the time for each step expires, the potential will be increased with the step
potential. The current will be sampled at the end of each interval time, according to
the previously explained rules.
An option is available to change the sample time position by means of the alpha
parameter. Normally the current is sampled at the end of each interval time: alpha=1.
By selecting a value of 0.5 the sampling would be performed halfway the interval, etc.
3.3 Stationary current
Stationary current cyclic voltammetry is intended for electrochemical objects that
(after some time) yield a constant current, like batteries or hydrodynamically
controlled systems. This method is also applied in corrosion studies.
While a voltammogram is being recorded, each newly measured data point will only
be accepted when a stationary condition has been reached. In this mode, the scan rate
will be dictated by the electrochemical object, since the scan will only proceed after
the response is constant.
There are a number of criteria that can be applied to define the stationary condition.
Every second, the current will be measured. If during 3 seconds, the current changes
less than abs(di) per second, then the equilibrium is supposed to be reached.
Alternatively, a relative change abs(di/i) can be specified. A maximum time interval
can be entered as well. This will limit the waiting time at each potential, after which
the steady state is supposed to be reached and the scan will be continued.
Chapter 3
Cyclic and linear sweep voltammetry
17
3.4 Scan averaging
Normally the scans are recorded and stored separately. In this mode, however,
subsequent scans are averaged and displayed as a single scan. A "number of scans to
reach equilibrium" can be entered that defines the scan number after which averaging
should start. Note that the former scans are discarded and not included in the average.
This technique is particularly useful for very noisy voltammograms. Of course, it
would be preferable to eliminate noise at its source first.
3.5 Current integration
In some cases, the normal staircase potential scans are not desirable. For example,
when studying fast electrode processes or UPD, the response is concentrated in a short
time immediately after the pulse application and has disappeared when the actual
measurement would start. In such cases, it is desirable to make a real linear scan. For
those who do not have a SCAN-GEN module, there is an alternative approach that
yields identical results: "The Current Integration" mode. The theoretical background
is discussed in detail in the application note: "Appl-5".
The shape of the perturbation potential is the same as with the staircase mode, but the
current is now determined by means of an analog integrator that collects the total
charge that has passed during the whole interval time. This charge when divided by
the interval time, is (mathematically) equivalent to the response to a real linear sweep.
Because the operation and resetting of the analog integrator takes time, this method
can only use every other sample time. Consequently, only half the number of samples
are recorded as compared to normal operation.
3.6 Galvanostatic cyclic voltammetry
Although at first glance there are similarities with cyclic voltammetry, some distinct
differences are present. The interpretation of the faraday current is simpler, but the
behaviour of the charging process is more complex. Unlike with staircase
voltammetry, the charging current will not decrease with increasing interval time.
Separation of these components might therefore be more cumbersome.
This technique resembles the normal (staircase) voltammetric mode, except that the
instrument will switch to galvanostatic operation. The scan will start with the "start
current". After each sample interval, the potential is measured and stored, after which
the current is increased with the step current. This process is repeated until the 1 st
vertex current is reached. Then, the scan proceeds to the 2nd vertex current and back
again to the starting current.
3.7 Fast scan voltammetry
This mode is similar to the normal staircase method, but it is differently implemented
enabling faster scan rates. For instance: automatic current ranging is not possible and
user interaction while a scan is in progress is limited.
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In fast operation, the instrument will only approximately realise the requested scan
rate. After the scan has finished, it will determine its actual sweep rate and display this
value.
3.8 Linear CV scans with the SCAN-GEN module
As discussed previously, it is sometimes desirable to produce a real linear potential
scan. The SCAN-GEN module provides this option. This enables the study of fast
discrete processes that would be difficult to study with a staircase scan. For instance,
the capacitive current will expire very fast after the application of each voltage step
and its determination is thus impossible with the staircase technique. On the other
hand, when the capacitive current is unwanted, the use of the staircase scan method is
more favourable.
The differences between the staircase method and the use of a linear scangenerator
are discussed in the application note: "Appl-5".
The implementation of linear cyclic voltammetry is analogue to its staircase resulting
in counterpart. However, the analog signal generator is less controllable, resulting in a
vertex potential with less accuracy: +/-5mV instead of 0.15mV. Of course the actually
realised vertex potentials will be recorded accurately.
3.9 Hydrodynamic linear sweep voltammetry with an RDE
When an RDE device is present, it is possible to do hydrodynamic linear sweep
voltammetry. Multiple scans at different rotation speeds of the RDE can be recorded.
The RDE should be connected to one of the BNC-connectors of the DAC module
(preferably channel 3). Select the RDE control option in the Utilities menu, where the
setup of the used RDE should be specified. During a measurement cycle, the rotation
speed can be monitored in this window.
After finishing a measurement cycle, two additional parameters are present in the
Analysis menu of the Data presentation window. It is possible to make the plots of i
versus sqrt(ω) and 1/i vs 1/sqrt(ω), where ω equals (2*π/60)* rotation speed in r.p.m.
These plots can be used to calculate the diffusion coefficient and kinetic parameters.
For more information please refer to the textbook of A.J.Bard and L.R. Faulkner
"Electrochemical methods: Fundamentals and Applications".
After selecting one of these plots, a potential must be selected.
The data should be saved as a so-called buffer file in order to perform the analysis
afterwards. The Save data buffer As option of the file menu saves all scans and all
rotation speed data.
An example for hydrodynamic linear sweep voltammetry is present in the
TESTDATA directory, called: HYDRODYN.
Chapter 4 Chrono methods
19
4. Chrono methods
4.1 Scope of techniques
With chronoamperometry, the current is measured versus time as a response to a
(sequence of) potential pulse(s). The potential perturbation can be defined in detail
and the current response will be recorded continuously. The recorded current can be
analysed and its nature can be identified from the variations with time. For example:
at short times the capacitive current is dominant ( ∝ e-t/RC ; with R=solution
resistance and C=capacity), while at longer time scales, the diffusion limited faradaic
current might prevail (∝ t -1/2 ).
For chronopotentiometry, similarly to galvanostatic cyclic potentiometry, the
mathematical description of faradaic currents is simpler than with
chronoamperometry. Also any ohmic potential drop will be constant with time as well
and will therefore not affect the shape of the response, except for an offset equal to
R*I (solution resistance*current). On the other hand, the capacitive current is usually
larger and its decay is related to the interfacial reaction impedance that is parallel to
the double layer capacitance.
4.2 Overview of techniques >0.1s
These techniques have in common that a response is recorded with time in a flexible
manner. The measured quantity is sampled (at the end of) every interval time for the
duration of one line cycle: 20ms or 16.67ms. The samples will be stored, depending
on the definition of the interval time.
Sometimes it will be useful to increase sampling rates when the response changes
rapidly with time. To this end, one can enter a maximum current/charge/potential
change (di, dQ, dE) that will speed up sampling when necessary. For amperometry,
one could specify a relatively long interval time with a small di, thus capturing the
important features of the response with a minimum amount of data points. Keep in
mind that the minimum interval is 0.1 s, so the maximum change between samples
could be larger than specified.
The implementation of amperometry is straightforward. The potential levels are
applied in the order in which they are specified, while the current samples are
recorded at the end of each interval time.
Galvanostatic potentiometry is implemented in an analogue manner.
Zero current galvanostatic potentiometry is implemented as a separate method, since
it involves the physical disconnection of the counter electrode. This method enables
the user to measure the change in the Open Circuit Potential in time.
In chrono-coulometry, the current is measured and integrated numerically. Of course,
the current variations between samples (0.1s) must be small enough, or in any case
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linear, to allow for accurate numerical integration. Otherwise, the method described in
the next paragraph should be applied.
4.3 Overview of techniques <0.1s
More rapid sampling to about 35,000 samples/s can be accomplished using this mode.
However, compared with the ">0.1s mode", some features are lost. In order to
guarantee reliable time performance, automatic current ranging and the option to
change sampling rate during a single scan, via "di", "dQ" or "dE", are not available.
Faster sampling can be accomplished with the addition of the ADC750 module
(maximum 750,000 samples/s).
The amperometric and potentiometric techniques work similar to the >0.1S methods,
taking into account the remarks above.
The chrono-coulometric method requires the presence of an analog integrator. One of
four integrator RC-times can be selected: 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10s.
Special attention should be directed to the combination of current range and integrator
RC-time. At a too low range, the integrator will get into saturation yielding an
incomplete result, while at unnecessary high values resolution will be lost. The
saturation value is reached when the total charge is equal to approx. ±10*(Current
Range * Integrator RC-time).
Unless one has a clear expectation about the magnitude of the response, some trial
runs might be necessary. Perform a test measurement with chrono amperometry to
determine maximum current and approximate charge. Choose a current range that is
between 0.4 and 4 times the observed maximum. Evaluate the maximum charge with
the "integrate" option in the <edit data> menu. Now select an integrator RC-time that
corresponds to: maximum charge/ current range. In general a first choice for the
integrator RC-time is the time which matches the pulse time or the total measurement
time.
It is important to minimise the effects of integrator drift. Especially for the
measurement of low charges at high current ranges, the drift may become dominant.
In such cases, it would be advisable to place a resistor in the WE line, limiting the
maximum current, thus enabling a more sensitive current range.
Chapter 5 Multimode electrochemical detection
21
5. Multimode electrochemical detection
This method is intended for electrochemical detection as a function of time, for
example in combination with HPLC or FIA.
When dc amperometry is selected, the current will be sampled at the end of every
interval time until the run time expires. The measurement period is taken equal to one
line period (20ms or 16.6ms).
Using multiple pulse amperometry, a sequence of potential levels can be specified that
are applied during the transient. A number of objectives can be accomplished in this
manner:
•
Several current/time curves can be recorded at various potential levels within one
scan.
•
The electrode can be regenerated during the measurement.
•
Electroactive species can be deposited.
Differential pulse amperometry can provide a higher sensitivity. Its response is
defined by the difference of the current obtained at 2 potential levels (listed at page 2
of the procedure window).
Chapter 6
Potentiometric stripping analysis
23
6. Potentiometric stripping analysis
6.1 Overview and implementation
Just like stripping voltammetry, deposited reaction products or adsorbed substances
are stripped from the electrode. The stripping itself can be done either by using a
chemical reaction or by using an external current. During the stripping process, the
potential is recorded and processed. From the response, recalculated to (dt/dE) vs E,
the amount of stripped material can be determined from the peak size. The nature of
the species can be deduced from the peak potential.
After starting the PSA measurement, the potential versus time is recorded at
maximum speed (30-60kHz).
To facilitate interpretation, it is most descriptive to present the results as the inverse
potential derivative with time (dt/dE), versus potential(E). The E vs t data are
processed in the following manner:
•
•
•
The voltage range is divided in a fixed number of steps with a so-called threshold
level at the end of each step.
Starting from the first recorded potential, the samples are counted, until the next
threshold level is reached. The result will thus show the number of times that the
measured potential lies between two threshold values.
The obtained results are multiplied with a factor, equal to the sample time divided
by the potential separation between threshold levels, yielding: (dt/dE).
When dt/dE is plotted against the potential, a peak shaped pattern is obtained, which
allows for a detailed trace analysis.
Note that this method of data processing is only valid for continuously rising or
monotonously decreasing stripping potential transient. Of course, this is usually a
realistic assumption.
The value of parameter "Maximum time of measurement(s)" should be specified with
some care. In case this value exceeds 3s, the resolution of the time measurements is
lowered. In case an experiment takes less than 1/300 of the specified "Maximum time
of measurement(s)", a warning message is given to specify a lower value.
6.2 Chemical stripping versus galvanostatic stripping
The substance under investigation is deposited by means of applying a "deposition
potential" to the electrode, at which a substance will accumulate at the electrode
surface.
When the chemical stripping technique is applied, the counter electrode will be
disconnected at the stripping stage. The deposited material will be chemically
removed (stripped), while the Open Circuit Potential (OCP) is being recorded.
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On the other hand, during galvanostatic stripping, the potentiostat is transformed to a
galvanostat at the stripping stage (see "advanced issues"). The deposited material is
now stripped by electrochemical oxidation at constant current, while the potential is
being recorded.
Chapter 7 Steps and sweeps
25
7. Steps and sweeps
With this option, the operator is able to define a free sequence of pulses and sweeps
and to monitor the response with time. This enables the users to define their own
waveforms.
In principle, the steps are implemented as in chrono amperometry and the sweeps as
in linear sweep voltammetry. The implemented flexibility will reduce the maximum
obtainable speed (maximum scan rate/minimum sample time).When a SCAN-GEN
module is present, the staircase sweeps will become linear scans.
From the results, the separate stages can be selected by means of "select segment" in
the <plot menu> of the data presentation window. In this way segments can be edited,
analysed, and stored separately. Note that data manipulation is only possible when
either the current or the potential data is selected, not both.
Chapter 8
ElectroChemical Noise (ECN)
27
8. ElectroChemical Noise (ECN)
The potential- as well as the current-noise can be measured, stored, and analysed with
this method. Using the Autolab there are two possibilities to measure the
electrochemical noise, one using the normal cell cables. Therefore 3 identical
electrodes should be placed in an electrochemical cell. One electrode is connected to
the red WE-cable, another to the blue RE-cable, the remaining electrode to the green
ground. The red S-cable should be connected together with WE, while the black CEcable remains unconnected. In the described configuration, the potential noise is
recorded with the RE-electrode that will be displayed as first signal (left axis in Data
presentation). The current noise is recorded from the WE-electrode that is shown as
second signal (right axis in Data presentation). The third grounded electrode enables
the passing of the current.
The second option to measure electrochemical noise requires the optional ECN
module. How the electrodes are connected and the date is processed can be seen in the
chapter about the ECN module of the ‘Installation and Diagnostics guide’. If the ECN
module is present the use of the module can be specified on the second page. The
potential displayed as first signal during a measurement represents the potential at
open circuit potential. If the option “show noise around zero volt” the potential
displayed as first signal will only show the low frequent differential noise potential
around the zero potential so in fact without the DC-component. The advantage of
using the optional ECN module is that the DC component of the potential is
compensated during measurement and therefore the noise potential can be measured
with the highest sensitivity available.
8.1 Transient
The current and potential transients are recorded simultaneously. The minimum
sampling time equals 0.002s. The duration of the transients is set to a power of 2
times the sampling interval, in order to enable proper FFT analysis (*). When starting
a scan, the duration will be adjusted automatically to the next nearest power of 2,
when necessary. If a running measurement is aborted prematurely, the dataset will be
padded with zeros to the nearest power of 2 before FFT analysis is applied.
After recording the noise transients, a Spectral noise analysis option is present in the
Data analysis window. A number of signal processing operations are available, like
base line subtraction and several windowing functions. The result of the analysis is
the power spectrum of the potential and current, or the magnitude of the impedance as
a function of frequency. The impedance is defined as the Fourier transformed
potential divided by the current at each frequency, both expressed in magnitudes.
(*) (duration time/interval time) ≡2n (= amount of data points)
Chapter 9
Frequency Response Analysis with the FRA module
29
9. Frequency Response Analysis with the FRA module
9.1 Principles of electrochemical frequency analysis
The ac impedance technique is commonly applied in investigations of electrode
kinetics or corrosion. The reaction rate/corrosion rate will be related to a charge
transfer/ corrosion resistance. When choosing the optimal frequency range, several
aspects should be considered:
At very low frequencies, the mass transport (diffusion resistance) will dominate the
impedance.
The electrical double layer capacitor will shortcut the Faradaic impedance at high
frequencies.
At very high frequencies, the ohmic resistance will become dominant.
Thus, for a meaningful determination of the reaction rate/corrosion rate, one needs to
find an optimal frequency range. For slow reactions, the useful frequencies will be
located in the lower ranges, while fast reactions require higher frequencies. When the
result is not a priori known, it will of course be useful to scan a wide frequency range
for analysis.
The measurements can be done under potentiostatic as well as galvanostatic
conditions.
The (potentiostatic) amplitude is generally put in the range: 5-25mV. In some
situations, for instance in media with a low conductivity, it can be desirable to apply
higher amplitudes. For impedance determinations, it does not matter whether the
perturbation is applied as a potential or a current. In practice, the dc requirements will
dictate which mode is selected.
Caution should be exercised when using galvanostatic perturbations: since the voltage
applied on the electrochemical object is not controlled, it could exceed the advisable
limits for linear behaviour, resulting in unexpected distortions by non-linearity effects.
It is therefore recommended to verify afterwards whether the magnitude of the ac
potential has remained within acceptable limits at that particular impedance. When in
doubt, one could repeat the measurement applying a lower ac current amplitude and
compare the result.
The Autolab instrument will determine the impedance of the object under test by
performing a numerical Fourier analysis on the current/ potential samples that were
recorded during the measurement period. This measurement period is defined by the
integration time, which can be chosen by the operator. The integration time may be
defined as a number of cycles. A longer integration time will yield a higher accuracy
with better noise immunity, but will prolong the duration of the measurement. The
latter might be a practical consideration at low frequencies.
The instrument employs an elaborate strategy to maximise dynamic performance and
minimise effects of noise by utilising digitally controlled filters, variable amplifiers,
and programmable offsets. Thus the resolutions of the internal ADC’s will be
exploited optimally. From each Fourier transformed potential/ current result, it checks
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whether the resolution is within a predefined range. When the software concludes that
performance can be improved using another setting, adjustments will be made and the
measurement is repeated. Thus it is possible that one can see measurements being
repeated on the display, to a maximum of 4 times. For this reason, the total
measurement duration can be longer than the estimation indicated in the "edit
frequencies" dialog window.
This strategy yields a highly flexible performance, that allows for the accurate
evaluation of a wide range of impedance’s.
A multiple sine wave mode is available. Simultaneously 5 or 15 sine waves can be
applied, cutting down the duration of the frequency scan by factor 2-3. Especially for
low frequencies this option can be profitable. Exploiting the characteristics of the
Fourier analysis, the response of each frequency component can be determined
separately, in principle without loss of accuracy. However, in practice, the accuracy
will be somewhat less than with the single sine method, due to the loss of the dynamic
performance: when multiple sine waves are mixed, a signal of higher amplitude must
be processed, requiring a wider range that has lower resolution. The capability to
reduce noise by filtering, is limited in the multiple sine mode.
9.2 Recording impedance’s at a single potential or current
For stationary electrochemical systems, most parameters are directly related to the dc
electrode potential: double layer capacitance, reaction rates, etc. It may therefore be
necessary to evaluate electrochemical parameters at fixed values of the potential.
Most equivalent circuits are based on the constancy of each component during the
scan. It is therefore desirable to eliminate time dependencies, or in any case, ensure
that the "impedance drift" remains within limits.
Under galvanostatic conditions, the same considerations apply. Note that the
variations of ac potential are not an issue. However, the dc potential should remain
more or less constant during the scan.
The list of defined frequencies are applied in sequence. The duration of the
measurement is determined by the integrator RC-time and the number of frequencies.
The software will provide an estimation for the total duration. However, the actual
duration of the scan might be larger, due to the autoranging process. When the
instrument encounters an overload or finds that the current/potential gainsetting is not
optimal, the measurement will be repeated, extending the total measurement time.
When the total scan duration is found to be excessive, several strategies can be
followed. First of all, the number of frequencies could be diminished, though the loss
of data points is usually undesirable. Alternatively, one could lower the integration
time, but that will diminish the accuracy of each data point. A third strategy would be
to use the multi (5 or 15) sine method.
It is good practice to start a frequency scan at the highest frequency, ending with the
lowest frequency. In this manner, the automatic ranging and automatic gaining will
work most efficiently.
Chapter 9
Frequency Response Analysis with the FRA module
31
9.3 Recording impedance potential/current scans
More advanced analysis of the electrochemical processes requires the evaluation of
electrochemical parameters as a function of potential. It would therefore be necessary
to repeat the frequency scan at various potentials. The interesting range of potentials,
depends of course on the electrochemical process under investigation.
This method is implemented similarly to dc voltammetry. A potential/current scan
will be performed using the defined Start, End, and Step potentials. However, unlike
dc voltammetry, the interval time is not available. Instead, the time duration between
each measurement is defined by the duration of each frequency scan. The latter is
determined according to the rules discussed in the first paragraph of this chapter.
It should be kept in mind that with changing dc potential, the dc current will vary as
well. When the dc current gets into an overload condition, the ac results will also be
invalid. Therefore, a proper range of current ranges should be chosen.
9.4 Recording impedance time scans
Most electrochemical phenomena are time variant. However, one often regards this
as an undesirable effect and experiments are conducted within a short time window
that ensures a fixed value for the electrochemical properties.
In other cases, one is interested in monitoring processes during a longer period,
which requires the recording (variations) of electrochemical parameters with time. As
can be expected, there is potential conflict here, since the measurement itself takes
time. The variations within a frequency scan should be kept small, otherwise the
analysis with an equivalent circuit will not be possible. The objective is to perform
relatively fast frequency scans repeatedly at distant points in time, distributed over a
long period.
The impedance/time scan is defined directly by 2 parameters: "interval time" and
"duration of measurement". The interval time determines the time between the start of
2 consecutive measurements. Note that this time should therefore be larger than the
duration of the frequency scan. If the latter requirement is not fulfilled, the next scan
will start immediately, disregarding the listed "interval time". The "duration of
measurement" parameter determines the duration of the total measurement.
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9.5 Hydrodynamic Impedance Measurements
When an RDE is present, an Autolab equipped with FRA2 module can be used for
hydrodynamic impedance measurements. The required external connections to the
BNC connectors on the front panel of the FRA2 module are:
- 'signal out' to the input of the controller of the rotating disk electrode (RDE)
- 'Y' to the output of the controller of the RDE
- 'X' to the current output marked ‘Iout’ at the rear of Autolab
These connections have to be made, using shielded BNC cables.
The 'signal out' of the FRA2 module is used to modulate the rotation speed of the
RDE.
The impedance analyser part of the FRA2 measures the signal from the RDE
controller and the current intensity from the potentiostat/galvanostat.
When signals come from the X and Y, external inputs on the front panel have to be
measured. This can be specified in the FRA manual control window. The check box
'Use external inputs' in this window must be checked.
The message 'External inputs are used!' appears after pressing the START button.
Chapter 10 Advanced issues
33
10. Advanced issues
10.1 Ohmic potential drop compensation
The PGSTAT12/20/30/100 models provide a facility to compensate for ohmic
resistance on-line. The analog "current result signal" is fed back to the potential inputs
of the potentiostat by means of a 12bit digitally controlled attenuator. In this manner,
the potential is increased with an amount that is equal to the ohmic voltage drop (=i*R
; current* resistance) across the cell resistance, removing the effects of this resistance.
For proper operation it is necessary to set the feedback amplifier to a value that
corresponds with the real ohmic resistance of the cell. Since the "current result signal"
is inverse proportional to the current range setting, the limit and resolution of
compensation are related. The maximum resistance (in ohm) that can be compensated
is equal to 2Volt/current range (in A). The resolution is derived from the 12 bit
attenuator, and is therefore 2-12 * maximum resistance. For example, at 1A range, the
maximum resistance equals 2 ohm, with a resolution of 0.0005 ohm.
Initially, the actual ohmic resistance must be determined. A number of methods are
available. Probably the most elegant strategy would be to analyse the equivalent
circuit with the FRA technique (requires FRA module). Alternatively, one can apply
the current interrupt technique or the positive feedback method.
10.2 Dynamic Ohmic drop compensation
In Cyclic Voltammetry and Chrono Methods this options offers the possibility to
measure and compensate for the Ohmic Drop during the measurement. This is
especially useful in systems where the Ohmic Drop changes during the experiment.
At every potential level, either a step in staircase cyclic voltammetry or a step in
chronoamperometry, a small amplitude high frequency square wave signal is added.
By measuring the resulting current responses, the Ohmic Drop can be calculated.
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Fig. 7 Dynamic Ohmic drop compensation
In the figure above a schematic description is given of the Dynamic Ohmic Drop
method. Estep indicates a potential step in either cyclic voltammetry (staircase) or in
chrono-amperometry/coulometry. The amplitude (A) of the square wave is user
definable and can be 10 to 200mV, the t sw in the picture indicates the period of the
square wave. The standard value is 0.1 ms or a frequency for the square wave of 10
kHz. The current response to the square wave signal (I sw) as well as the normal dc
current (Idc) are measured just before the setting of a new potential. The Ohmic Drop
is then calculated from the Isw value, and the potential in the next step is adjusted
accordingly. The value of the measured ohmic drop will be shown in the data
presentation window as a second signal.
Please keep in mind that the following limitations apply to this technique:
•
It is only available for LSV and CV normal (staircase), and Chronoamperometry/coulometry (Interval times >.1 s)
•
The sweep rate in cyclic voltammetry is limited.
•
The method cannot be used in combination with a Rotating Disk Electrode, an
ARRAY, ADC750, BIPOT, pX or ECD module or any other device (EQCM,
ESPR, etc.) that will result in an external signal.
•
Hardware adjustments are necessary for this option, so the option cannot be used
on an older instrument with new software only.
•
The method only works in High Speed mode, meaning that it is not available on
the old µAutolab.
10.3 Automatic dc current ranging
The Autolab instrument will choose the optimal dc current range automatically from
the allowed list of current ranges. Prior to starting a method procedure, a short trial
measurement will be performed from which result the most appropriate range will be
evaluated. If during a measurement the current approaches a range limit, the
Chapter 10 Advanced issues
35
instrument will switch to a more suitable current range (either lower or higher). This
is accomplished by comparing each sample with predefined threshold levels. When a
result exceeds the upper threshold, a higher range is selected (when available).
Likewise, when a measured current falls below the lower threshold repeatedly, a
lower range is selected when available. By default, the threshold levels are defined as
0.04 and 4 times the current range.
If the current changes rapidly between two consecutive measurements, it might be
possible that a data point will be outside reliable limits (5 times the current range),
causing the overload indicator to be set. The point will be stored anyway and the scan
will continue using a higher current range. The actual hardware limit is equal to 10
times the current range, thus those data points that are within 5-10 times the current
range can still be used, ignoring the overload flag. However, their accuracy will be
less, due to the non linear response characteristic for large signals.
Automatic ranging takes time: in the order of several milliseconds. Therefore this
strategy can only be employed when the interval time is sufficiently large. For the
"fast" techniques automatic ranging is not available. For other methods, this option is
available, but its use will limit the maximum scan rate or the minimum interval time.
Note that this automatic ranging method is only available in the potentiostatic mode.
For this reason, the potentiostatic methods have a broader dynamic range than their
galvanostatic counterparts.
10.4 Sampling techniques
In order to exploit the resolution of the AD converters optimally and reduce noise
maximally, the instrument employs automatic gaining and sample averaging. Each
measured point, as it appears on screen and in the result file, is in fact the weighed
average from several AD conversions that are collected at variable attenuation.
The ADC164 module has a programmable gain amplifier: 1x,10x, and 100x.
Depending on the technique, the available time, and the settings in the Hardware
Configuration File, a dedicated sampling strategy is applied:
•
•
•
•
SampleFast: Only one AD conversion is performed and stored, using a preset
fixed gain. This method is used for the fast techniques: "Cyclic Voltammetry
Fast", "Chrono Methods (lowest possible sampling time)", and "Potential
Stripping Analysis".
SampleOne : First an ADC sample is taken at gain=10. The result is used to
determine the optimal gain :1x/10x/100x, and the measurement is repeated. The
result of the latter conversion is stored. This method is used in all techniques if the
acquisition time is less than 157µs.
SampleMean: First an ADC sample is taken at gain=10. The result is used to
determine the optimal gain, which is selected. Subsequently, AD conversions are
performed repeatedly until the available time has expired. The mean value is
calculated and stored. This method is used for all techniques where SampleOne or
SampleFast is not applied.
SampleGain: First the input is sampled with a gain of 1. When it can be inferred
that a higher gain is profitable, the gain is increased to 10, and the measurement is
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repeated. If the high sensitivity option is enabled and the previous result indicates
that the 100x gain is meaningful, the measurement is repeated at that higher gain.
In this manner the input is sampled, continuously switching gains, until the
measurement period expires. All samples are averaged, yielding a single data
point that is stored. This technique can be applied instead of SampleMean.
The measurement period (=acquisition time) depends on the technique. To get rid of
line noise, it is usually attempted to take exactly 1 line period or a multiple of this. If
for some other reason sample averaging is not desirable, one can override it by
changing record [21,4] in the Hardware Configuration File to 1. This will disable
sample averaging and apply the "SampleOne" method for all (non fast) techniques.
The ‘fast techniques’ are : Cyclic & Linear sweep voltammetry/Fast scan, Chrono
methods (<0.1s) and Potential stripping analysis. The Fast Cyclic/Linear voltammetric
and Chrono techniques are performed with a fixed gain of 1, except when "Use high
ADC resolution" is checked in the procedure window that puts the gain to 10. In the
PSA method, the optimum gain is chosen automatically.
Gain variations introduce an uncertainty (jitter) in the time separation between
consecutive samples. Therefore, when time synchronicity requirements are very
stringent, like in ac-voltammetry, the current response is measured at a fixed gain.
The automatic gaining and averaging method is applied on voltammetric samples
(current values) as well as on galvanostatic samples (potential values), unlike the
autoranging described in the previous paragraph that is only applicable for current
determinations.
10.5 Management of electrical connections to the electrodes
Cell on and cell off events
It is important to manage carefully how an electrode is electrically connected on a
"cell on" or disconnected during a "cell off" event. Potentiostats operate by means of a
feedback mechanism. If all the electrodes are not (yet) connected, it cannot work
properly and the potentiostat will get into a state of saturation, applying the potential
of the power supply to the electrode clamps. When such an open feedback loop is
suddenly closed on "cell on", the electrodes will experience a potential spike that
could spoil or damage them. Therefore, it is necessary to adopt a scheme that switches
smoothly "On" and "Off". To this end, a programmable "dummy" feedback loop is
introduced across the stage that controls the potential of the counter electrode. In this
manner open feedback loops are avoided.
The reference and working electrode are always connected to the external connectors,
also when cell is "Off". Note that it is therefore possible to measure the Open Circuit
Potential (OCP) with "cell off".
Chapter 10 Advanced issues
37
Cell off situation:
The counter electrode is not connected, while the internal feedback
loop is closed (=active)
Cell on event:
First the counter electrode is connected, 1 ms later the internal
feedback loop is opened.
Cell off event:
First the counter electrode is disconnected, 1 ms later the internal
feedback loop is closed again.
When the bipotentiostat is used, the second working electrode will be connected
simultaneously with the counter electrode.
Switching from potentiostat to galvanostat
In the "Potentiometric Stripping Analysis, at constant current" the Autolab switches
during the measurement from potentiostatic to galvanostatic operation. Since the
implementation of this procedure is not trivial, it should be described in more detail.
•
•
•
•
•
•
Disconnect counter electrode, wait 3ms
Close internal feedback loop
Switch to galvanostat: open reference electrode feedback and close current
follower feedback
Set galvanostat to zero current, Connect counter electrode, wait 3ms
Open internal feedback loop, wait 1ms
Set desired current
In case the zero current galvanostat (PSA chemical stripping) and zero current
potentiometry is selected, the counter electrode is physically disconnected.
10.6 Recording Multiple Channels, BIPOT and second signals
The GPES package enables the simultaneous recording of several signals, either from
multiple standard modules or user configurable external devices. On the 2nd page of
the procedure window one can select:
•
Bipotentiostat (when BIPOT module is present)
•
Aux: any signal applied to selected ADC channel
•
Charge : calculated charge
•
Potential: measured potential
•
Current: measured current
•
ESPR: measured ESPR signal
Furthermore, multiple channels will be sampled when the multistat module is utilised.
One should realise that all these measurements consume time. The lowest possible
sampling time is therefore proportional to the number of signals that are to be
recorded simultaneously.
Index
39
Index
A
Ac voltammetry ....................................................................................................................................................... 11
acquisition time ............................................................................................................................................7, 11, 36
admittance................................................................................................................................................................ 11
adsorption.................................................................................................................................................................. 4
alpha.......................................................................................................................................................................... 16
amplitude................................................................................................................................................ 9, 11, 12, 29
Aux............................................................................................................................................................................ 37
B
bandwidth................................................................................................................................................................. 11
Bipot.......................................................................................................................................................................... 37
Bipotentiostat .......................................................................................................................................................... 37
C
capacitive current..............................................................................................................................................11, 19
Capacitive process.................................................................................................................................................... 4
cell off ....................................................................................................................................................................... 36
cell off after measurement....................................................................................................................................... 4
cell on........................................................................................................................................................................ 36
Charge....................................................................................................................................................................... 37
chemical stripping................................................................................................................................................... 23
chronocoulometric method.................................................................................................................................... 20
chronopotentiometry.............................................................................................................................................. 19
concentration............................................................................................................................................................. 4
corrosion.................................................................................................................................................................... 4
corrosion rate.......................................................................................................................................................... 29
Current ...................................................................................................................................................................... 37
Current integration.................................................................................................................................................. 17
current range............................................................................................................................................................ 35
current ranging ........................................................................................................................................................ 34
Cyclic voltammetry................................................................................................................................................. 15
D
deposition potential................................................................................................................................................. 23
Differential normal pulse voltammetry ............................................................................................................... 10
Differential pulse voltammetry............................................................................................................................... 9
diffusion coefficient .................................................................................................................................................. 4
duration of measurement ....................................................................................................................................... 31
Dynamic Ohmic drop compensation................................................................................................................... 34
E
edit frequencies ....................................................................................................................................................... 30
ElectroChemical Noise.......................................................................................................................................... 27
electrode kinetics.................................................................................................................................................... 11
electrosorption..................................................................................................................................................11, 15
External inputs ........................................................................................................................................................ 32
F
faradaic current...................................................................................................................................................... 19
Faradaic processes .................................................................................................................................................... 4
faradaic waves .......................................................................................................................................................... 9
Fast Fourier Transform........................................................................................................................................... 12
Fast scan voltammetry............................................................................................................................................ 17
fast techniques......................................................................................................................................................... 36
40
User Manual Electrochemical Methods
Version 4.9
FFT ............................................................................................................................................................................ 27
Fourier analysis ....................................................................................................................................................... 29
FRA2......................................................................................................................................................................... 32
frequency.................................................................................................................................................................. 11
G
galvanostatic ............................................................................................................................................................ 29
Galvanostatic cyclic voltammetry ........................................................................................................................ 17
Galvanostatic potentiometry ................................................................................................................................. 19
galvanostatic stripping........................................................................................................................................... 24
H
hardware configuration file. .................................................................................................................................. 15
Hardware Setup Program......................................................................................................................................... 5
hardware.exe .............................................................................................................................................................. 5
harmonics................................................................................................................................................................. 12
Hydrodynamic Impedance Measurements ......................................................................................................... 32
Hydrodynamic linear sweep voltammetry .......................................................................................................... 18
I
Idisk........................................................................................................................................................................... 16
impedance..........................................................................................................................................................11, 27
integrate.................................................................................................................................................................... 20
integrator.................................................................................................................................................................. 20
integrator drift .......................................................................................................................................................... 20
interval time ................................................................................................................................................12, 15, 19
Iring........................................................................................................................................................................... 16
irreversible................................................................................................................................................................. 9
L
line cycle................................................................................................................................................................... 15
line frequency............................................................................................................................................................ 7
linear potential scan............................................................................................................................................... 18
linear sweep voltammetry...................................................................................................................................... 15
M
magnitude................................................................................................................................................................. 12
magnitudes ............................................................................................................................................................... 27
Mean” button........................................................................................................................................................... 15
measurement period.................................................................................................................................................. 7
mercury electrodes ................................................................................................................................................... 7
multi (5 or 15) sine method................................................................................................................................... 30
Multimode electrochemical detection ................................................................................................................. 21
multistat module ...................................................................................................................................................... 37
N
non-linearity............................................................................................................................................................... 9
Normal mode (staircase)........................................................................................................................................ 16
Normal pulse voltammetry ...................................................................................................................................... 8
O
Ohmic Drop .......................................................................................................................................................33, 34
ohmic resistance...................................................................................................................................................... 33
Open Cell Potential................................................................................................................................................. 36
Open Circuit Potential............................................................................................................................................ 23
overload.................................................................................................................................................................... 35
oxidation wave ........................................................................................................................................................ 15
Index
41
P
peak-peak potential................................................................................................................................................. 11
phase ......................................................................................................................................................................... 12
Phase sensitive......................................................................................................................................................... 12
polarography.............................................................................................................................................................. 7
Potential.................................................................................................................................................................... 37
Potentiometric stripping analysis ......................................................................................................................... 23
Potentiometric stripping Analysis ........................................................................................................................ 37
potentiostatic............................................................................................................................................................ 29
pretreatment, measurement ..................................................................................................................................... 3
PSA............................................................................................................................................................................ 23
R
RDE.....................................................................................................................................................................18, 32
reaction rate ........................................................................................................................................................4, 29
reduction wave........................................................................................................................................................ 15
reproducible ............................................................................................................................................................ 15
resolutions................................................................................................................................................................ 29
rotation speed .......................................................................................................................................................... 18
S
Sampled DC............................................................................................................................................................... 7
Scan averaging ........................................................................................................................................................ 17
scan rate.................................................................................................................................................................... 15
SCAN-GEN..................................................................................................................................................16, 18, 25
second harmonic...................................................................................................................................................... 13
second signal ........................................................................................................................................................... 16
second signals .......................................................................................................................................................... 37
select segment.......................................................................................................................................................... 25
signal out.................................................................................................................................................................. 32
sine wave.................................................................................................................................................................. 11
Spectral noise analysis ........................................................................................................................................... 27
Square wave voltammetry ..................................................................................................................................... 10
standby potential....................................................................................................................................................... 4
Stationary current.................................................................................................................................................... 16
Steps and sweeps .................................................................................................................................................... 25
sysdef40.inp ............................................................................................................................................................... 5
T
The Current Integration ......................................................................................................................................... 17
threshold current ....................................................................................................................................................... 3
threshold levels ........................................................................................................................................................ 35
trace analysis ........................................................................................................................................................... 23
U
UPD.....................................................................................................................................................................16, 17
Utilities ..................................................................................................................................................................... 18
V
vertex potential........................................................................................................................................................ 15
Voltammetric analysis ............................................................................................................................................. 7
Z
Zero current galvanostatic ..................................................................................................................................... 19
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