Voltammetry in High-Voltage Fields

Tech ID: 16-040

Inventors: Paul Bohn, Lawrence Zaino


A potentiostat capable of performing voltammetric analysis in large external electric fields

Technology Summary

Lab on a chip (LOC) allows researchers to shrink laboratory functions down to an integrated circuit, enabling LOC to handle extremely small fluid volume. Voltammetry is a laboratory function that allows researchers to measure the concentration of a solution, identify molecules, and learn other reaction characteristics. Voltammetry operates by using a potentiostat to vary voltage and measure current.

Since LOC operates at the micro and nanoscale, fluids behave differently due to physics principles such as capillary action playing a much larger role. This requires fluid flow, to be driven through the chip by an electric field, rather than pressure. When these electric fields and a typical potentiostat are integrated together, the solution, the solute, and the potentiostat frequently degrade, ruining the instrumentation and preventing any data collection through voltammetry. Current solutions to these issues are larger, have less accurate characterization, and limit the placement of instrumentation for measurements.

Researchers at Notre Dame have developed a potentiostat with novel instrumentation to prevent degradation, increase accurate characterization, and decrease dead volume for electrochemical identification. In addition, this instrumentation can perform voltammetry anywhere in electric fields up to 3000 V/cm, allowing virtually any placement of the instrumentation in the electric field.

Market Opportunity

  • Drug Analysis
  • Identifying contaminants and toxins in water
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Identifying Toxins and Ingredients in Food

Market Advantages

  • Lower Laboratory Costs due to fewer reagents
  • Less waste
  • Higher throughput
  • Faster analysis and response times

Technology Readiness Level
TRL 4 - Lab Validation

Intellectual Property

Published - US 2017 / 0269035 A1




Richard Cox