A glass capillary ultramicroelectrode with an electrokinetic sampling ability

A. Hirano, M. Kanai, T. Nara, M. Sugawara

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A glass capillary ultramicroelectrode (tip diameter ≅1.2 μm) having an electrokinetic sampling ability is described. It is composed of a pulled glass capillary filled with an inner solution and three internal electrodes (Pt working and counter electrodes and an Ag/AgCl reference electrode). The voltammetric response of the capillary electrode is based on electrokinetic transport of analyte ions from the sample solution into the inner solution across the conical tip. It was found that the electrophoretic migration of analytes at the conical tip is faster than electroosmotic flow, enabling electrokinetic transport of analyte ions into the inner solution of the electrode. By using [Fe(CN)6]4-and(ferrocenylmethyl)trimethylam monium (FcTMA+) ions as model analytes, differential pulse voltammetric responses of the capillary electrode were investigated in terms of tip diameter of the capillary, sampling voltage, sampling time, detection limit and selectivity. The magnitude of the response depends on the size and charge of analyte ions. With a capillary electrode having a ≅1.2-μm tip diameter, which minimizes non-selective diffusional entry of analytes, the response after 1 h sampling at +1.7 V is linearly related to [Fe(CN)6]4- concentration in the range of 0.50 - 5.0 mM with the detection limit of 30 μM. Application of a potential of the same sign as that of the analyte ion forces the analyte to move out from the electrode to the solution, enabling reuse of the same capillary electrode. The charge-selective detection of analytes with the capillary electrode is demonstrated for [Fe(CN)6]4- in the presence of FcTMA+.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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