Source: Laboratory of Dr. Yuriy Román — Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A potentiostat/galvanostat (often referred to as simply a potentiostat) is an instrument that measures current at an applied potential (potentiostatic operation) or measures potential at an applied current (galvanostatic operation) (Figure 1). It is the most commonly used instrument in the electrochemical characterization of anode and cathode materials for fuel cells, electrolyzers, batteries, and supercapacitors.
Conventionally, these anode and cathode materials are interfaced with a potentiostat via a three-electrode electrochemical cell. The electrode leads from the potentiostat are connected to the reference electrode, the counter electrode (often called the auxiliary electrode), and the working electrode (which contains the test material of interest). The electrochemical cell is then filled with a high ionic strength electrolyte solution, such as an acidic, alkaline, or salt solution. The media for this high ionic strength solution is typically aqueous; however, for applications necessitating higher operating cell potential windows, such as batteries and supercapacitors, non-aqueous media is often used. The cell media is degassed with an inert gas (to prevent unwanted side react…