Electrochemical Analysis

Electrochemistry is the study of techniques that use electrical stimulation to analyze the chemical reactivity of a system. More specifically, it analyzes the loss and gain of electrons i.e. the oxidation and reduction mechanisms in a reaction. Oxidation and reduction reactions are called redox reactions- these provide vital information related to the kinetics, concentration, mechanism of reaction, and chemical status of the reactants in solution.

Electrochemical analysis is very helpful in many applications including the study of neurotransmitter behavior and polymerizations reactions. Electrochemistry is different from spectroscopy as electrochemical techniques analyze a different set of parameters.

Electrodes in electrochemical analysis

Electrochemical methods make use of electrically conductive probes or electrodes which are usually linked to electronic devices that measure the electrical parameters of the reactants in solution. Most electroanalytical techniques use three electrodes, namely; the working electrode, the reference electrode and the counter (auxiliary) electrode. These electrodes are connected to a potentiostat that controls the working electrode potential and determines the resulting current.

The working electrode is a critical component of an electrochemical experiment as this is where the key reactions take place. This electrode is usually made of an inert material. The first step in a typical electrochemical analysis is the application of a potential to the working electrode. Next, the resulting current is measured and plotted against time. Alternatively, the potential can be varied and the resulting currents can be plotted against the applied potential.

Electrode substrates

Several types of electrode substrates are used in electrochemical experiments. Some of these are highlighted below:

  • Carbon as an electrode substrate is beneficial as it can be easily renewed for electron exchange.
  • Mercury electrodes are very popular as they are renewable and reproducible.
  • Nanomaterial-based electrodes have a high surface area for an increased immobilization of functional groups. Certain semiconductor nanomaterials promote the rate of electron transfer between proteins and electrodes. Metal nanomaterials such as gold nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes (CNTs), graphene, and metallic oxide/sulfide nanomaterials are commonly used as electrode substrates. Some biocompatible nanomaterials can help proteins or cells maintain their activities on the electrode for a long period for the analysis of proteins and cells.
  • Chemically modified electrodes seek to enhance specific properties of the ordinary electrode such as compatibility with reactants such as proteins.
  • Noble metals such as gold, silver, and platinum are also widely used as electrode substrates. Silver is usually used for the preparation of chemically modified electrodes (CMEs) whilst pure gold and platinum electrodes are both very chemically stable and conveniently manufactured.

Experimental parameters

Four key parameters are generally measured in an electrochemical experiment:

  1. Potential (E) is defined as the quantity of energy or electrical force in a system. Its base unit is the volt (V). An increase in E indicates the availability of more energy for the reaction.
  2. Current (I) is the measure of electron flow in a reaction. The base unit of current is amperes or amps (A). Current is usually measured in the microamp or nanoamp scale in electrochemical experiments.
  3. Charge (Q) denotes the number of electrons used per equivalent and its base unit is coulomb (C).
  4. Time (t) denotes duration of the experiment. It is expressed in second (s).

Electrochemical techniques

Due to the many different combinations of working electrode types and parameters possible in electrochemical experiments, a number of techniques are possible using electrochemical principles. Some are as follows:

  • Cyclic Voltammetry (CV)

A commonly used electroanalytical technique that can characterize an electrochemical system. Multiple CV experiments help in the determination of Nernstian or non-Nernstian behavior, rate constants, formation constants, formal potentials, and diffusion coefficients. Unfortunately, it is not a technique which is good for quantitative analysis.

  • Linear Sweep Voltammetry (LSV)

LVS can be used for quantitative electrochemical analysis. In LSV, the potential of the electrode is varied at a constant rate during the reaction and the resulting current is measured.

  • Square Wave Voltammetry

Can be used to generate three current-potential plots, namely; reverse current versus potential, forward current versus potential, or difference current versus potential.

  • Chronoamperometry

Used to determine diffusion coefficients and investigate reaction kinetics and mechanisms.

  • Chronopotentiometry

Used to determine higher concentrations. In this technique, a constant current is applied to the electrode and the resulting potential change is plotted against time.

  • Chronocoulometry

Is another version of chronoamperometry which can give a relatively more accurate measurement of a kinetic rate constant and also aids easy detection of reactant adsorption on an electrode surface.


  1. www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/9783642342516-c2.pdf
  2. http://www.princetonappliedresearch.com/download.asbx?AttributeFileId=da907eee-6988-4cd6-a8f5-c38aa06d5ab0
  3. https://chem.libretexts.org/

Last Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Susha Cheriyedath

Written by

Susha Cheriyedath

Susha is a scientific communication professional holding a Master's degree in Biochemistry, with expertise in Microbiology, Physiology, Biotechnology, and Nutrition. After a two-year tenure as a lecturer from 2000 to 2002, where she mentored undergraduates studying Biochemistry, she transitioned into editorial roles within scientific publishing. She has accumulated nearly two decades of experience in medical communication, assuming diverse roles in research, writing, editing, and editorial management.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Cheriyedath, Susha. (2023, July 19). Electrochemical Analysis. News-Medical. Retrieved on July 15, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/Electrochemical-Analysis.aspx.

  • MLA

    Cheriyedath, Susha. "Electrochemical Analysis". News-Medical. 15 July 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/Electrochemical-Analysis.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Cheriyedath, Susha. "Electrochemical Analysis". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/Electrochemical-Analysis.aspx. (accessed July 15, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Cheriyedath, Susha. 2023. Electrochemical Analysis. News-Medical, viewed 15 July 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/Electrochemical-Analysis.aspx.


  1. raj kumar raj kumar Islamic Republic of Pakistan says:

    Good description.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.