eXtreme Electrochemistry

To Electrochemistry and Beyond!
To Electrochemistry
and Beyond!

Not Electrochemistry on a Skateboard,
but electrochemistry in places you might not expect.

As an analytical tool, electrochemistry has been under-rated for too long. Because of their instrumental simplicity and wide range of application areas, electrochemical methods are receiving some long overdue attention. Here are two recent examples.

Electrochemistry in Inner Space
Doing science at the bottom of the ocean is not an easy affair. The intense pressure makes survival of instrument and scientist a challenge. Often ignored, the thermodynamic effects of the P V term become important. Taking samples for later analysis in a 'surface' laboratory does not preserve the delicate equilibrium and speciation which exists under these extreme deep-sea conditions.

A recent article in Today's Chemist tells of some of the results from a recent dive in the deep-sea submersible, ALVIN, which was equipped with a voltammetric analyzer. A poster (#1519P) was also presented at PittCon 2000. (See the Sunday Technical Program.)

A review article, "The Application of Electrochemical Tools for In Situ Measurements in Aquatic Systems," has also recently been published. 

Also see "Chemical speciation drives hydrothermal vent ecology", GW Luther III, et. al., Nature 410, 813 - 816 (2001)  Note: Free registration required to read abstract.

Electrochemistry in Outer Space
Chemistry in outer space is not an easy affair either, but for different reasons. Extra-terrestrial electrochemistry generally doesn't have the high pressures of Deep Sea Electrochemistry, but you do have to bring your own electrolyte! And don't let your reference electrode dry out, replacing it isn't easy!

In the February 2000 edition of SEAC Communications, Sam Kounaves gives a short summary of the electrochemical instrumentation package which is to be sent to Mars (subtitled "Where no electrode has gone before!") More information and links are available on the Kounaves Group web page. 

For some earlier analytical chemistry done on Mars, go to the library and check out 
Anal Chem, 67 (1995), p 605A.
Amer Lab, Oct 1999, p48.

 Update!  The MECA package was launched in August 2007 and landed on Mars on 05/25/08. Check here for up to date information.

Who says Electrochemistry has to be boring?


To Electrochemistry and Beyond! To Electrochemistry and Beyond!

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