Improving the Sensitivity of Solid-Contact Ion-Selective Electrodes by Using Coulometric Signal Transduction

Tingting Han, Ulriika Mattinen, Johan Bobacka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


A fundamental limitation of potentiometric ion sensors is their relatively low sensitivity due to the logarithmic dependence between potential and activity. Here we address this issue by exploring a recently developed coulometric transduction method for solid-contact ion-selective electrodes (SCISEs). Spin-coated thin-layer ion-selective membranes are used to lower the membrane resistance and shorten the response time of the SCISEs. When using coulometric transduction, an optimized design of the K+-SCISE is able to detect a concentration change of 5 mu M at a concentration level of 5 mM, corresponding to a 0.1% change in K+ activity. This indicates that SCISEs can provide extremely high sensitivity when employing coulometric transduction. Impedance measurements show that the coulometric transduction process for the K+-SCISE is limited by diffusion even for very thin ion-selective membranes. On the other hand, the H+-SCISE shows a low impedance and a fast coulometric response that is related to the high mobility of H+ in the H+-selective polymeric membrane as well as in the solid contact layer. The coulometric transduction method was used to detect small changes of pH in seawater and found to improve the sensitivity compared to classical potentiometry. The coulometric method was briefly tested also for determining activity changes of K+ in a serum sample.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)900–906
Number of pages13
JournalACS Sensors
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • pH
  • Solid-contact ISE
  • coulometric transduction
  • high sensitivity
  • seawater

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