In-depth knowledge: definition, principle and application of electrochemical workstation


What is an electrochemical workstation?

Electrochemical workstation is a comprehensive experimental equipment that can simultaneously complete a variety of electrochemical experimental operations such as constant potential and constant current. It is used to control and measure various parameters of electrochemical reactions, including potential, current, charge transfer, etc. It usually consists of potentiometer, working electrode, reference electrode, auxiliary electrode, computer and data acquisition software, etc. Equipped with automatic control and data acquisition functions, the electrochemical workstation can achieve precise control and measurement of electrochemical reactions by controlling the potential applied to the working electrode and measuring the current generated by the electrochemical reaction. Electrochemical workstations have a wide range of applications in fields such as electrochemical energy storage, electrochemical sensors, biochemistry and biosensing, and materials science.

History of electrochemical workstations

Early electrochemical experiments

The study of electrochemistry began in the late 18th century, when scientists began to explore the connection between electricity and chemistry. In the early 19th century, British scientists Austen Henry Layard and John Frederic Daniell of London invented the primitive voltammetry and the Daniell cell, respectively, laying the foundation for electrochemical research. After that, other scientists successively proposed many important electrochemical theories and experimental methods, such as Faraday's law, Nadir's equation and electrolytic cell, which accelerated the development of electrochemistry.

The emergence of electrochemical workstations

In the early 20th century, research in the field of electrochemistry was further developed. Many scientists began to use electrochemical experiments to study the kinetic and thermodynamic properties of chemical reactions. In this context, electrochemical workstations began to appear. The first electrochemical workstations were mainly simple circuits based on potentiometers and cells for measuring and controlling the potential and current of electrochemical reactions. In the 1950s, the technology of electrochemical workstations was further developed with the appearance of computer-controlled electrochemical workstations for cyclic voltammetry measurements. Since then, the development of electrochemical workstations has further accelerated with the emergence of many electrochemical workstations with high accuracy, automation and reproducibility.
The world's first multi-channel computer-controlled constant potential meter - Mac Pile, introduced in 1991.

Composition of electrochemical workstation

Electrochemical workstations usually consist of electrodes, electrochemical cells, power supplies, potentiometers, electrochemical analysis instruments, computers and software, solution preparation and processing equipment, etc.

Electrodes:Depending on the number of electrodes, electrochemical workstations can be classified as two-electrode and three-electrode systems, with three-electrode systems being more commonly used. The three-electrode system consists of a working electrode (WE), a reference electrode (RE) and a counter/auxiliary electrode (CE). The working electrode (WE) is the main body of the reaction and is usually made of a precious metal such as gold or platinum, which is covered with a specific electrocatalyst to facilitate the electrochemical reaction. The reference electrode (RE) acts as a reference potential to ensure the accuracy and repeatability of the potential measurement. The counter/auxiliary electrode (CE) is usually used to transfer current, polarize and activate the working and reference electrodes in electrochemical experiments, and precisely control electrochemical reactions 

Electrochemical cell:Device for holding reaction solution and electrodes, commonly used forms are single electrode cell, double electrode cell, etc. 

Power supply:Provides electrical energy for electrochemical reactions Potentiometer: used to control the potential applied to the working electrode and to measure the current generated by the electrochemical reaction 

Computers and Software:For collecting and analyzing data from electrochemical reactions, and for data processing and statistical analysis 

Solution preparation and handling equipment:These components together form the electrochemical workstation that enables precise control and measurement of electrochemical reactions.

What are the functional modes of electrochemical workstations?

Common functional modes of electrochemical workstations include: constant current mode (CTE), constant potential mode (PTE), cyclic voltammetry mode (CV), AC impedance mode (EIS), amperometric mode (AM), constant power mode (PWE), open circuit voltage mode (OCV), and zero resistance ammeter mode (ZRA).

Constant current mode (CTE): Constant current mode is used to control the reaction by controlling the current level in the electrolyzer and maintaining a constant current flow through the electrodes.

The constant current mode can be used to study the reaction kinetics, mass transfer processes and interfacial properties occurring at the electrode. In the constant current mode, a constant current density is applied to the working electrode, while the reference electrode is used to measure the potential change of the working electrode. By analyzing the timing-potential curve of the working electrode, parameters about the reaction rate, activation energy, reaction order, diffusion coefficient, etc. can be obtained. The constant current mode can also be used to perform some specific experimental operations, such as deposition of active materials, passivation and corrosion of metal surfaces, etc .

Constant potential mode (PTE): The constant potential mode is used to study electrode reactions by maintaining a state of constant potential at the electrodes and calculating parameters such as the rate constant and half-cell potential of the electrode reactions.

Based on user-specified values, the workstation can precisely control the potential of the counter electrode (CE) with respect to the working electrode (WE), thus accurately defining the potential difference between the working electrode and the reference electrode. In constant potential mode, the experimenter can monitor the current of the electrochemical reaction in real time and can follow the dynamics of the electrochemical reaction to better understand the reaction mechanism. This mode is commonly used in electrochemical research and analysis, such as cell studies, cathodic-anodic reactions, and metal corrosion studies.


Cyclic voltammetry (CV) mode: Cyclic voltammetry scanning of electrochemical reactions with simultaneous recording of electrode current and potential changes is used to study the electrochemical properties and surface reaction kinetic processes of electrode materials.

AC impedance mode (EIS): By applying AC potential or current excitation to the system, the amplitude-frequency characteristics of the electrode potential response and current response are recorded to study the electrochemical reactions and interfacial properties of the material.

Amperometric model (AM): measuring the electron transfer rate and electron transfer kinetic processes in electrochemical reaction systems is one of the important experimental methods for studying electrochemical reactions.

Constant power mode (PWE): control the rate and product selectivity of electrochemical reactions by constant power or current density for the study and optimization of catalytic and synthetic reactions.

Open Circuit Voltage Mode (OCV): In this mode, the electrochemical workstation measures the open circuit potential of the sample/electrode using a low voltage transient scan. This method is common in studying the static behavior and open-circuit potential kinetics of electrodes, cells and fuel cells.

Zero Resistance Ammeter Mode (ZRA): In this mode, the electrochemical workstation uses a zero resistance cell to polarize the cell to be tested. This technique is a common experimental method to study the internal resistance of the cell, the electrode material, the electrode kinetic behavior of the charge and discharge cycles, and to perform battery aging and performance analysis.


An electrochemical workstation is a type of experimental equipment used to study and control electrochemical reactions. Its wide range of applications include basic electrochemistry, batteries, supercapacitors, fuel cells, solar cells, sensors, corrosion, materials science, etc. The applications of electrochemical workstations in each of these fields are described below.

Energy storage and conversion

Electrochemical workstations are used in a wide range of applications in the energy field, such as for the study of energy storage and conversion devices such as lithium-ion batteries, supercapacitors, and fuel cells. With the gradual depletion of lithium resources, sodium-ion batteries are attracting attention as a new type of battery. Researchers use electrochemical workstations to optimize the composition and structure of battery materials by studying the electrochemical properties of sodium ion battery materials to improve the energy density and cycle life of batteries. For example, researchers can use electrochemical workstations to study the electrochemical reaction mechanism, charge transfer rate and other parameters of electrode materials in sodium ion batteries, and optimize the performance of electrode materials based on experimental data to improve the performance of sodium ion batteries.

Electrochemical research

Electrochemical workstations are widely used in basic research of electrochemical reactions, such as studying electrochemical synthesis, electrochemical corrosion, electrochemical impedance, etc. Electrochemical workstations can be used to measure charge transfer processes on electrode surfaces, measure ion and electron transport rates, and study the effect of electrolyte on electrode reactions to understand the mechanisms and kinetic processes of electrochemical reactions. Researchers can also use electrochemical workstations for electrocatalyst studies to optimize the performance of electrocatalysts by measuring their electrochemical properties, such as electrochemical surface area, catalytic efficiency, and other parameters, so as to improve the application of electrocatalysts.

Materials Science Field

Electrochemical workstations are widely used to study the electrochemical properties of materials and electrochemical synthesis. For example, electrochemical workstations can be used to study the electrochemical behavior of nanomaterials, surface reactions, electrochemical synthesis processes, etc. Researchers can also use electrochemical workstations to conduct electrochemical studies of two-dimensional materials, a new class of materials with excellent properties and great potential for applications. By measuring the electrochemical properties of two-dimensional materials, the structure and properties of two-dimensional materials can be optimized, thus enhancing their applications in electronic devices, catalysis, sensing, and other fields.

Life Science Field

Electrochemical workstations are also widely used in life sciences, such as for studying the electrochemical properties of biomolecules, the electrochemical behavior of biofilms, and the electrochemical behavior of cells. Electrochemical workstations can be used to study the electrochemical properties of biological macromolecules, electrochemical sensors, and electrobiology, etc. In addition biofuel cells have potential applications as a new energy technology for converting organic waste into electrical energy. Researchers can use electrochemical workstations to conduct research on biofuel cells, such as studying electrochemical reactions of electrode materials, electron transfer rate and other parameters to optimize the structure and performance of biofuel cells, thus improving the energy conversion efficiency and stability of biofuel cells.
In conclusion, the applications of electrochemical workstations are constantly updated and can be applied to new energy sources, new materials, new devices, new technologies and other fields, providing important technical support for related research. In addition to the above four application areas, electrochemical workstations can also be applied to other fields such as the preparation of nanomaterials, the study of electrochemical sensors, and the study of electrochemical coatings, which have a wide range of application prospects. Among them, with the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology in recent years, the automation and intelligence of electrochemical workstations have been increasing. For example, researchers can use machine learning algorithms to optimize the parameters of electrochemical reactions to make the electrochemical reactions optimal. In addition, intelligent electrochemical workstations can be combined with real-time feedback control systems to achieve rapid control and regulation of reaction systems and improve experimental efficiency and data accuracy.

What brands of electrochemical workstations are available

The following are some of the well-known brands of electrochemical workstations

Biologic (Biologic, France)Biologic's electrochemical workstations are characterized by high precision, high sensitivity, high reliability, high automation, multi-functionality, and modularity, and are one of the most well-known and reputable electrochemical instrument brands in the field of electrochemistry.

Metrohm (Swiss Aptar): is a Swiss-based company whose product line includes constant potential meters, constant current meters, potential scanners, ion chromatographs, pH meters, redox potentiometers, etc.

Gamry (USA)The product line includes constant potential meter, constant current meter, rotating disc electrode meter, etc.

Technical parameters: Glossary of terms

When shopping for an electrochemical workstation, its technical parameters are crucial. Below is an explanation of some common glossary terms.


Voltage is one of the important parameters in electrochemical measurements, which is usually used to drive electrode reactions and control experimental conditions. Electrochemical workstations usually provide three parameters to describe their voltage characteristics: tank voltage, control voltage and voltage resolution.

Slot pressure:Refers to the maximum voltage that an instrument can output before exceeding the safety limit, usually in V or mV. It is an important indicator for assessing the safety of the instrument. If this range is exceeded, damage may be caused to the operator and the equipment.

Control voltage:It refers to the voltage range that can be measured or output by the instrument, usually in V or mV. It is an important indicator to evaluate the control accuracy of the instrument. Depending on the specific application scenario, a suitable voltage range needs to be selected.

Voltage resolution:This refers to the smallest voltage increment that the instrument can detect, usually in V or mV. Usually the higher the voltage resolution, the more accurate the measurement results.


Current is another important parameter in electrochemical measurements and is commonly used to measure processes such as electrode reaction rates, corrosion rates, and material transfer. Electrochemical workstations usually provide four parameters to describe their current characteristics: current range, maximum current, current resolution and low current.

Current range:Refers to the different current measurement ranges that can be detected by the instrument. Typically measured in mA, μA, nA or pA, this specification defines the range of currents that the instrument can measure. When selecting a current range, the selection needs to be based on the specific application scenario and needs.

Maximum current:Refers to the maximum current that an instrument can measure or output. Usually measured in mA, A, or kA, this specification defines the maximum current that the instrument can handle. If the current exceeds the maximum current, it may damage the device or cause erroneous measurement results.

Current resolution:Refers to the smallest current increment that can be detected by the instrument. It is usually measured in A, μA, nA or pA. Usually the higher the current resolution, the more accurate the measurement results.

Low current:A special mode for detecting very low currents with several different measurement ranges and resolutions. Its current range is typically in the nA and pA classes. This specification is suitable for application scenarios where very low currents need to be measured, such as corrosion studies and bioelectrochemistry.

Advanced Parameters

Advanced parameters are some of the additional functions and features in electrochemical workstations that are used to meet special experimental needs or to improve measurement performance. Common advanced parameters include number of channels, connections, optimal sampling time, suspension mode, analog filtering, calibration plate, and full stability control mode.

Number of channels:Refers to the number of signals that an instrument can measure or output at the same time. The number of channels is usually measured in units of counts and is an important metric for evaluating the multi-channel performance of an instrument. Depending on the specific application scenario, the appropriate number of channels needs to be selected.

Connections:The different types of connections that can be connected to the electrochemical workstation. This specification defines the different types of connections that the instrument can accept, such as electrode connections and data interfaces.

Optimal sampling time:The optimal sampling time of an instrument when measuring or outputting a signal. The optimal sampling time is usually measured in seconds or milliseconds and is an important metric for evaluating the measurement performance of an instrument. When selecting an electrochemical workstation, it is necessary to select the appropriate optimal sampling time based on the experimental requirements and the rate of signal change.

Floating mode:Electrochemical workstations are used to measure patterns that are not referenced to the ground or other fixed points of the signal. This specification is suitable for application scenarios where measurements need to be made under specific conditions, such as measuring corrosion rates in a special atmosphere.

Analog filtering:A method for electrochemical workstations to filter out unwanted noise or signals from measurement data. Analog filtering is often used to reduce noise and interference in measurement data and to improve measurement accuracy and reliability.

Calibration substrate:A separate board used by electrochemical workstations for calibration. This specification defines the calibration boards that can be used with the instrument. Calibration boards typically include components such as resistors and capacitors that are used to adjust the measurement accuracy and precision of the instrument.

Stability control mode:The mode used by the electrochemical workstation to adjust the signal bandwidth to maintain stability has several different bandwidths available. This specification defines the different control modes that the instrument can use to maintain stability and ensure accurate measurement results.

In summary, the definition, principles and applications of electrochemical workstations play an important role in experimental research. With its various electrochemical techniques, the nature and mechanism of electrochemical reactions can be explored in depth, and the electrochemical processes can be optimized to improve the electrochemical performance. The wide application of electrochemical workstations is not only limited to the field of basic research, but also covers many fields such as industry, pharmaceuticals, and materials science. Therefore, electrochemical workstations have an important position in modern science and technology and will continue to provide strong support for scientists.

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