Micro-Controller Based Potentiostat

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Computer Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Major Advisor

Joseph A. Hartman


Remote detection and monitoring of environmental contaminants is a fast growing field as it reduces human interaction and decreases cost of operation. An embedded potentiostat to detect the concentration of a chemical species was built as part of an effort to remotely detect and monitor environmental contaminants. A potentiostat is an electronic instrument that allows the application of voltage waveforms of various shapes on a 3 or 4 electrode set-up and determine the current through the cell. In this work, the potentiostat was used to perform cyclic voltammetry. Cyclic voltammetry is a technique in which a triangular voltage is imposed on the electrochemical cell and the current through the cell is analyzed. The current versus voltage curve of an electro-active chemical species that undergoes reversible red-ox behavior displays two prominent peaks, one in each direction of the sweep voltage. The current peaks are indicative of the concentration of the chemical and also provide other useful information. An embedded potentiostat system was built that extracts the concentration of the electro-active species from the peak measurements. The entire system was integrated on a printed circuit board of dimensions 3 cm X 13cm. The correlation factor between concentration of a test species and its current peak using the embedded sensor system was found to be greater than 0.99.

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