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Rotating Disk Potentiometry for Inner Solution Optimization of Low-Detection-Limit Ion-Selective Electrodes

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Department of Chemistry, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama 36849
Cite this: Anal. Chem. 2003, 75, 24, 6922–6931
Publication Date (Web):October 31, 2003
Copyright © 2003 American Chemical Society

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    The extent of optimization of the lower detection limit of ion-selective electrodes (ISEs) can be assessed with an elegant new method. At the detection limit (i.e., in the absence of primary ions in the sample), one can observe a reproducible change in the membrane potential upon alteration of the aqueous diffusion layer thickness. This stir effect is predicted to depend on the composition of the inner solution, which is known to influence the lower detection limit of the potentiometric sensor dramatically. For an optimized electrode, the stir effect is calculated to be exactly one-half the value of the case when substantial coextraction occurs at the inner membrane side. In contrast, there is no stir effect when substantial ion exchange occurs at the inner membrane side. Consequently, this experimental method can be used to determine how well the inner filling solution has been optimized. A rotating disk electrode was used in this study because it provides adequate control of the aqueous diffusion layer thickness. Various ion-selective membranes with a variety of inner solutions that gave different calculated concentrations of the complex at the inner membrane side were studied to evaluate this principle. They contained the well-examined silver ionophore O,O‘ ‘-bis[2-(methylthio)ethyl]-tert-butylcalix[4]arene, the potassium ionophore valinomycin, or the iodide carrier [9]mercuracarborand-3. Stir effects were determined in different background solutions and compared to theoretical expectations. Correlations were good, and the results encourage the use of such stir-effect measurements to optimize ISE compositions for real-world applications. The technique was also found to be useful in estimating the level of primary ion impurities in the sample. For an iodide-selective electrode measured in phosphoric acid, for example, apparent iodide impurity levels were calculated as 5 × 10-10 M.

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     Present address:  Department of Chemistry, Brooklyn CollegeCUNY, Brooklyn, NY 11210.


    In papers with more than one author, the asterisk indicates the name of the author to whom inquiries about the paper should be addressed.

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