three-electrode setup

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three-electrode setup ( three-electrode-setup )

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Overview: Three-electrode setup The following electrodes are used in a three-electrode setup: • Working electrode (WE, red wire) o Purpose: The potential at the working electrode is either scanned or held constant to perform electrochemical transformations in the analyte solution. o What is used: For analytical scale applications, the working electrode is most commonly a glassy carbon (GC) disk. Metallic disks (Pt, Au, Ag, Cu, Ni), boron doped diamond (BDD) or edge plane pyrolytic graphite (EPPG) disks can also be used as alternatives to glassy carbon in niche situations where different electrode-specific reactivity is desired. o Working electrodes may be purchased either from Pine Research (Catalog number AFE1B030GC for a 3 mm diameter glassy carbon disk, https://pineresearch.com/shop/products/electrodes/working-electrodes/e1b/) or CH Instruments (Catalog number CHI104 for a 3 mm diameter glassy carbon disk, http://www.chinstruments.com/accessories.shtml). • Reference electrode (RE, white wire) o Purpose: The reference electrode provides a well-defined redox couple that electrochemical processes occurring at the working and counter electrodes can be compared against. o What is used (non-aqueous): In non-aqueous conditions, Ag/Ag+ reference electrodes are typically used, with AgNO3 as the Ag+ salt. o What is used (aqueous): In aqueous conditions, a saturated calomel electrode (SCE), standard/normal hydrogen electrode (SHE/NHE), or Ag/AgCl electrode can be used. o High quality non-aqueous Ag reference electrodes may be purchased from Pine Research (Catalog number RREF0153L2, https://pineresearch.com/shop/products/electrodes/reference-electrodes/lowprofile- 35mmod/rref0153l2-miniature-ag-pseudo-ptfe-60-mm-long/) and perform better than those available from other vendors. • Counter electrode (CE, blue wire) o Purpose: The counter electrode (CE) performs an opposite electrochemical process to what is happening at the working electrode; oxidation/reduction at the WE means reduction/oxidation is taking place at the CE. In this way, the CE completes the circuit within the full electrochemical cell. o What is used: For analytical scale applications, the counter electrode is almost always a platinum wire. o Platinum wire counter electrodes may be purchased from either Pine Research (Catalog number RRPG257PT, https://pineresearch.com/shop/electrodes/counter- electrodes/lowprofile/ or CH Instruments (Catalog number CHI115, http://www.chinstruments.com/accessories.shtml) Assembly: Electrochemical cell and electronic connections • All three electrodes are fit with correspondingly sized O-rings so they can rest upon a Teflon cap set into a glass electrochemical cell. All electrodes should be submerged in analyte/electrolyte solution and should ideally be level with each other. • Electrical leads from the potentiostat should be assembled such that power pins are plugged into sensor pins of the same color (e.g. red power pin P1 is plugged into red sensor pin S1, blue power pin P2 is plugged into blue sensor pin S3). Each sensor pin is then plugged into an alligator clip

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