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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Chemistry : Chemistry

Postgraduate Course: Electrochemistry and Sensors (CHEM11071)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Chemistry CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryAnalytical sensing is a key step involved in industrial, environmental, agricultural, clinical and screening applications. Field portable sensors are specifically in high demand for applications involving the detection of toxic gases in air, pollutants in water, biological markers or viruses in oral fluid and other biological fluids. Compared to optical, mass and thermal sensors, electrochemical sensors are especially attractive because of their remarkable detectability, experimental simplicity and low cost. They have a leading position among the presently available sensors that have reached the commercial stage and which have found a vast range of important applications in the fields of clinical, industrial, environmental and agricultural analyses.
A list of current portable electrochemical sensors includes: Carbon monoxide gas sensors, arsenic and heavy metals (Pb,Hg,Cd etc) water quality sensors, glucose (diabetes monitoring), influenza virus and DNA sensors.
Course description The course material covers key concepts relating to the application of electrochemical sensors as a key tool in Analytical Chemistry. The course forms a part of the curriculum for any student enrolled on the PGT MSc degree course in Analytical Chemistry. The course consists of a blend of lectures, tutorials, workshops and hands-on experimental activities, which deal with the key concepts of electrochemistry and its application to real-world analytical challenges. The course aims to develop the students ability to think critically and creatively and solve analytical problems. Students will be assessed on their performance in an exam and on their performance in hands-on activities. The course topics include:

Introduction to electrochemistry
Nernst equation, electrode kinetics, dynamic electrochemistry, the Butler-Volmer and Tafel equations. Overpotentials.
Kinetically and mass transport controlled electrochemical processes. Mass transport by migration, convection and diffusion.
Conductivity. The electrochemical double layer.
Potentiostatic and galvanostatic electrochemical methods including chronoamperometry, chronocoulometry, cyclic voltammetry, chronopotentiometry, ac impedance spectroscopy, spectroelectrochemistry and hydrodynamic methods.

The fundamentals of electrochemical sensors
Homogeneous and heterogeneous electrocatalysis.
Electrochemical processes coupled to chemical steps.
The fundamentals of material corrosion investigations.
Nanostructured and surface modified electrodes.
Introduction to batteries, fuel cells, supercapacitors and electrochemical solar cells. Electrochemical processes of particular relevance to energy conversion.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 12, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 18, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 64 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Exam 50%
Coursework/practical 50%
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Apply Nernst equation to electrochemical systems and describe the difference between equilibrium properties and properties of electrochemical systems in which currents are present.
  2. Apply electrochemical methods such as: chronoamperometry, cyclic voltammetry, chronopotentiometry, chronocoulometry, ac impedance and spectroelectrochemistry in analytical sensing. Rationalise the importance of factors such as selectivity, sensitivity, reproducibility, dynamic range, operating environment and cost.
  3. Apply electrochemical techniques for the investigation of material corrosion mechanisms and the study of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalytical processes .
  4. Apply electrode design rules (macro, micro and nano-structured arrays of electrodes) in the development of enhanced electrochemical sensors.
  5. Apply non-invasive electrochemical techniques for quantification of degradation modes in energy storage devices (batteries, supercapacitors, fuel cells etc).
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Develop an understanding on how heterogeneous reactions occur at the electrode-solid/solution/gas interface.
Learn which electrochemical technique is most suitable to solving which analytical chemistry problems.
Acquire an understanding of how kinetically and mass transport controlled electrochemical processes can be measured or controlled through the application of an electrical signal (current, potential).
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Annamaria Lilienkampf
Tel: (0131 6)50 4812
Course secretaryMs Zoe Burger
Tel: (0131 6)50 7546
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