What’s important in the selection of a potentiostat? That depends greatly on its intended use. This page addresses an often misunderstood term.
Compliance voltage is the voltage available at the counter electrode that can be used to force current to flow and still maintain control of the working electrode voltage. The compliance should be specified in conjunction with a current value: “20V @ 250mA” or “20V @ full rated current”. An amplifier’s output voltage decreases at higher currents due to the output impedance of the amplifier.
A while ago I received an email from an electrochemist who lamented:
“We have some problems with the 173, which we still prefer to use occasionally because of its analog nature. … (The) potentiostat goes into oscillations.”
Although the M173 has a reputation for ‘stability’ it has always had problems with oscillation! These problems tend to be most troublesome when the more sensitive current ranges are used and when the cell capacitance is large. PAR had a ‘noise filter’ in their catalog for a long time that was really a ‘stability aid’ more than a ‘noise filter.’ It consisted of a capacitor that was placed between the counter electrode lead and the input jack of the M178 electrometer. This acts as a shunt for the higher frequency, oscillation-producing signals. A capacitor value of 0.01 µF is a good place to start. I think this stands the best chance of stabilizing your system.
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