CEM  837

Spring 2016

Electroanalytical Chemistry

Department of Chemistry, Michigan State University


Course Organization, Lecture Syllabus and Other Important Information


Lectures:               Monday, Wednesday, Friday 4:10 to 5:00 pm,


Location:              126 CEM


Course Website:   http://www2.chemistry.msu.edu/courses/cem837/


Textbooks:            A.J. Bard and L. R. Faulkner, Electrochemical Methods: Fundamentals and Applications, John Wiley and Sons., 2nd ed. 2001.


                               D. Pletcher, A First Course in Electrode Processes, RSC Publishing, 2nd ed. 2009.


Instructor:            Professor Greg M. Swain

                               314 Chemistry Building

                               Tel. 355-9715 x229

                               Email:  swain@chemistry.msu.edu


Instructor Office Hours:   By appointment.


Course Description

This in-depth course covers the fundamental principles of electrochemistry and electrochemical methods of analysis. The course will cover topics in physical as well as electroanalytical chemistry. The student will learn about the theoretical and practical aspects of electrochemical measurements whether they be used for determining some physical property a system or for detecting an analyte. Using a combination of problem-based learning approaches, case studies and traditional lectures, the student will develop critical thinking skills in the areas of electrochemical method  selection, method development and data interpretation.


Course Objectives

1.       Understand the basics of electrode processes and how thermodynamics, electron-transfer kinetics and mass transport control      electrochemical reactions.

2.       Understand how to design electrochemical experiments to solve problems in chemical analysis.

3.       Learn about ways in which electrochemical methods are used to solve problems in health and the environment, and how to evaluate     the resulting data.

4.       Improvement of written communication skills through the preparation of a literature-based research paper on an assigned case study.

5.       Improvement of oral communication skills through delivery of an oral presentation, as part of a team, on an assigned case study.


Exam Schedule

February 19th         (Exam 1 – in class)

March 18th             (Exam 2 – in class)

April 29th               (Exam 3 – in class)



There are a total of 600 points available for this course:


Ten weekly quizzes (10 pts ea.)                                (100 points total)             

Three 1-h exams worth 100 points each                   (300 points total)

Term Paper/Case Study                                            (100 points total)

Oral presentation/Case Study                                   (100 points total)


Grading Scale

The scale indicated below is based on the number of total points accrued being converted to a percentage of the total points available.  These grade cut-offs are based on historical experience with this course and they may be relaxed by a small amount, at the instructor’s discretion, based on the class exam results. In no event shall the grade levels be made more stringent than indicated below.


Raw score (500 max)

Percentile score

Course grade

450 – 500

90.0 – 100%


425 – 449

85.0 – 89.9%


400 – 424

80.0 – 84.9%


375 – 399

75.0 – 79.9%


350 – 374

70.0 – 74.9%




Problems will be assigned but not collected for any credit or grade. Answer keys will be posted on the course website.


Lecture Schedule



Lecture Topic




Case Study (Friday class)

Jan. 11-15

Overview of Electrode Processes





Jan. 18-22

Thermodynamics of Cells




Jan. 25-29

Kinetics of Electrode Reactions



Group 1

Feb. 1-5

Mass Transport



Group 2

Feb. 8-12




Group 3

Feb. 15-19




Exam 1 (2/19)

Feb. 22-26

Potential Step Methods



Group 4

Feb. 29 – Mar. 4

Potential Sweep Methods



Group 5

Mar. 7-11





Mar. 14-18

Electroactive Layers and Modified Electrodes



Exam II


Mar. 21-25

Amperometric Sensors and Biosensors



Group 6

Mar. 28-Apr. 1




Group 7

Apr. 4-8

Anodic Stripping Voltammetry



Group 8

Apr. 11-15




Group 9

Apr. 18-22





Apr. 25-29

Course Review



Exam III



Research Paper

You will write a 10-page literature-based research paper (Times Roman, 11 point, 1.5 line spacing) on the case study you were assigned. The paper should utilize at least five references. The term paper should have the following sections: Background and Motivations (reasons for the work, benefits of the science and overview of the electrochemical method or sensor used), Experimental Approach (details of the method, electrode preparation and or sensor design), Example Data and Interpretation, and Conclusions and Future Perspectives. All figures are to be scanned and embedded into the text.  Five figures would be a good number. For citations, follow the format of ACS journals. All text used in your paper and written by another author should be appropriately cited. All papers are due on or before April 1st.



Oral Presentation (Case Study)

As part of a team (2 students), you will prepare and present a lecture on the case study you were assigned. The case study will focus on one paper but you will have to search the literature for associated and background articles needed to understand the work presented in the main paper. Go to MSU Libraries and search the scientific literature databases (Scopus, Scifinder, Web of Science and or Pubmed)


In this Case Study, you will discuss the purpose for the work, the design of the instrumental method used and its operational principles, the data presented and the conclusions reached. See the syllabus for your presentation date.


Lecture Notes and Other Course Materials

Week One Lecture Notes (Chapter 1)

Week Two Lecture Notes (Chapter 2)

Week Three Lecture Notes (Chapter 3)

Notes on Nernst Eq and BV Eq

Week Four Lecture Notes (Chapter 4)

Week Five Lecture Notes (double layer, capacitance and ion migration)

Week Five - Corrosion Lecture 1

Week Five – Corrosion Kinetics

Week Six - Corrosion Passivation

Week Seven – Potential Step Methods

Week Eight – Potential Sweep Methods

Week Nine – Chemically Modified Electrodes I (Chap. 14 B&F)

Week Nine – Chemically Modified Electrodes II (Chap. 14 B&F)

Week Ten – Anodic Stripping Voltammetry (Chap. 11 B&F)

Week Eleven – Electrochemical Detection for LC and FIA

Week Eleven – Electrical Double Layer Structure (Chap. 13 B&F)

Week Twelve – Pulsed Voltammetric Methods and Rotating Disc Voltammetry

Class Project – Digital Simulations

Week Thirteen – Introduction to Neuroelectrochemistry

Week Fourteen - Potentiometry

Week Fifteen – Extras on Potentiometry


Problems – Answer Keys

Chapter 1 B&F                                               Review on Potentiometry I

Chapter 2 B&F                                               Review on Potentiometry II

Chapter 3 B&F

Chapter 4 B&F

Exam 1 Review Topics and Problem

Problem Set Solutions

Chapter 5 B&F

Quiz #3

Quiz #4

Exam I Answer Key

Quiz #5

Chapter 6 B&F

Chapter 14 B&F

Exam II Review


Exam II Answer Key

Quiz #7


Case Study Schedule




January 29th


Landry Bennett & Amanda Setser

Anal. Chem. 1995, 67, 3115

February 5th


Kirti Bhardwaj & Ahmed Alsatarwah

J. Phys. Chem 2016, ASAP

February 12th


Hillary Asberry & Andre Castiaux

J.Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, ASAP



February 26th


Christine James & Kanchan Chavan

J. Electroanal. Chem. 2015,758, 148-155


March 4th


Andrew Henika & Romana Jarosova

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 2004-2013

March 25th

Ke Ma & Erica Karl


J. Phys. Chem. C 2014, 118, 8999-9008

April 1st


Xiaoyu Wang & Alex Mirabal

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 10492-10502

April 8th


Liu Yang & Yuxi Ma

Analyst 2009, 134, 2012-2020

(Analyst 2003, 28, 700-705)



Religious Observances/ Other Absences from Class

It is the responsibility of students who plan to be absent from class at certain times throughout the semester, due to religious holidays or other reasons, to make arrangements in advance with the instructor. Course notes or handouts may be obtained from the instructor if these conditions are met. If a make-up exam is required, the instructor retains the right to determine the content of the exam and the conditions of administration, giving due consideration to equitable treatment.


Academic Honesty

Academic dishonesty at Michigan State University is defined by the General Student Regulations as conduct that violates the fundamental principles of truth, honesty, and integrity. The following conduct is specifically cited:


o     Supplying or using work or answers that are not one's own.

o     Providing or accepting assistance with completing assignments or examinations.

o     Interfering through any means with another's academic work.

o     Faking data or results.


You are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You may work together with your classmates on course material but submit your own work. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit course work you completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course.  Also, you are not authorized to use the www.allmsu.com or similar websites to complete any course work in this course.


Students who violate these rules WILL be assigned a failing grade for the course.


Social Media Policy

As members of a learning community, students are expected to respect the intellectual property of course instructors. All course materials presented to students are the copyrighted property of the course instructor and are subject to the following conditions of use:


1. Students may not record lectures or any other classroom activities and use the recordings only for their own course-related purposes without permission from the instructor.


2. If granted permission, students may share the recordings with other students enrolled in the class. Sharing is limited to using the recordings only for their own course-related purposes.


3. Students may not post the recordings or other course materials online or distribute them to anyone not enrolled in the class without the advance written permission of the course instructor and, if applicable, any students whose voice or image is included in the recordings.


4. Any student violating the conditions described above may face academic disciplinary sanctions.


Special Requests



Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities at 517-884-RCPD or on the web at the link shown above. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined, you will be issued a verified individual services accommodation (“VISA”) form. Please present this form to me at the start of the term and/or two weeks prior to the accommodation date (first test date). Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.