Note: Characterization of electrode materials for dielectric spectroscopy

D. Malleo, J. T. Nevill, A. Van Ooyen, U. Schnakenberg, L. P. Lee, H. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


When measuring the dielectric properties of aqueous samples, the impedance of the electrode/sample interface can limit low frequency measurements. The electrode polarization problem can be reduced by increasing the effective surface area of the electrodes. In this work, impedance spectroscopy was used to characterize and compare three different electrode surfaces that can be used to mitigate this effect: platinum black, iridium oxide, and [polypyrrole/ poly(styrenesulphonate)] (PPy/PSS) conducting polymer. All three materials were directly compared with a bright platinum electrode. Equivalent circuit models were used to extract the increase in the effective surface area of the electrodes: platinum black, iridium oxide and PPy/PSS increase the effective capacitance of the electrode by factors of approximately 240, 75, and 790, respectively. The practical aspects of all electrode materials are discussed. These results suggest that iridium oxide and PPy/PSS are good alternatives to the commonly used platinum black, which is prone to mechanical damage (scratches) and is potentially toxic to cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number016104
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


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