Electrochemical methods of chemical analysis have been widely used for many years. This is seen most especially with the trusty pH electrode and conductivity meter, which are used widely in industrial and environmental applications. The everyday analyses of clinical samples for electrolytes, performed with ion-selective electrodes, and the mass-manufactured glucose test strips which place routine electrochemical measurements into the hands of non-scientists are further examples of the extensive use of electrochemical measurements. These examples illustrate that electrochemical methods and devices built on sound principles and evaluations serve vital functions outside of the research laboratory. Electroanalytical chemistry and electrochemical methods have the great advantage that they are sensitive and selective, can be easily made portable and miniaturized, and are often adaptable to new applications.
The purpose of this volume is to discuss recent advances in electrochemical methods and materials that may bring new strategies to bear on chemical and biochemical detection problems. The scope of the volume is to survey contemporary research and development advances within the areas of electrochemical detection based on new and re-vitalised methods, new materials with enhanced properties, and new devices that achieve better electroanalytical signal generation. As a result, the chapters collected here, written by leading researchers in the field, encompass advances in electrodes and devices, from microscale to nanoscale, electrochemical nanomaterials, and electrochemical behaviour and applications of soft interfaces and materials.
Chapter 1 deals with advances in stripping voltammetric detection of metals and addresses the replacement of mercury electrodes for this application. Chapter 2 continues the discussion of electrode devices, dealing specifically with microfabricated electrodes and their use in biomedical detection, while Chapter 3 discusses the use of electrodes in conjunction with microfabricated chips for chemical/biochemical separations and detection. Microelectrodes also feature in Chapter 4, in terms of scanning electrochemical microscopy, especially for biological systems characterization. Chapters 5–8 bring the discussions to the nanoscale, dealing with detection of nanoparticles (Chapter 5), nanofabricated electrode devices (Chapter 6), carbon nanomaterials (Chapter 7), and dispersible nanoparticle electrodes (Chapter 8). The final two chapters discuss electroanalytical opportunities derived from soft (liquid–liquid) interfaces (Chapter 9) and from room temperature ionic liquids (Chapter 10).
It is hoped that this collection of chapters will provide the interested reader with an introduction to some of the recent hot topics in electrochemical detection research and provide a platform for the design and development of further improvements in this area of detection science.
Damien W. M. Arrigan