Quartz Crystal Microbalance

The Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) is an exciting tool for the electrochemist.

With it, the researcher can now follow not only the current that flows, but the weight changes of the electrode, too! This is a valuable tool when studying reactions which involve films, adsorbates, metal deposition, corrosion, or monolayer formation. It is sensitive enough to detect a fraction of a monolayer of most materials.

If you are just starting out, these articles may help.

MR Deakin, DA Buttry, “Electrochemical Applications of the Quartz Crystal Microbalance”, Anal. Chem., 1989 (61), 1147A.
An ‘A’ pages article. this gives a quick overview of the topic. Dan Buttry was among the first to use the QCM to study electrochemical processes.

C Henry, “Measuring the Masses”, Anal. Chem., 1996 (68) 625A.
This ‘A’ pages article presents a summary of the commercially available QCMs at the time.

DA Buttry, “Applications of the Quartz Crystal Microbalance to Electrochemistry” in “Electroanalytical Chemistry, Vol 17“, AJ Bard, ed., Dekker, NY (1991).

This monograph is a good overview of the capabilities of the method and an introduction to the instrumentation as well. Many have used the “Buttry” designed oscillator circuit which is given in the text.

Quartz Crystal Microbalance