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Electrochemically Switchable Polymeric Membrane Ion-Selective Electrodes

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journal contribution
posted on 28.05.2018, 00:00 by Elena Zdrachek, Eric Bakker
We present here for the first time a solid contact ion-selective electrode suitable for the simultaneous sensing of cations (tetrabutylammonium) and anions (hexafluorophosphate), achieved by electrochemical switching. The membrane is based on a thin plasticized polyurethane membrane deposited on poly­(3-octylthiophene) (POT) and contains a cation exchanger and lipophilic electrolyte (ETH 500). The cation exchanger is initially in excess; the ion-selective electrode exhibits an initial potentiometric response to cations. During an oxidative current pulse, POT is converted into POT+, which results in the expulsion of cations from the membrane followed by the extraction of anions from the sample solution to fulfill the electroneutrality condition. This creates a defined excess of lipophilic cation in the membrane, resulting in a potentiometric anion response. A reductive current pulse restores the original cation response by triggering the conversion of POT+ back into POT, which is accompanied by the expulsion of anions from the membrane and the extraction of cations from the sample solution. Various current pulse magnitudes and durations are explored, and the best results in terms of response slope values and signal stability were observed with an oxidation current pulse of 140 μA cm–2 applied for 8 s and a reduction current pulse of −71 μA cm–2 applied for 8 s.