Standard Article

Pulse Voltammetry

Electroanalytical Methods

  1. Michael T. Carter1,
  2. Robert A. Osteryoung2

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a5311

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Carter, M. T. and Osteryoung, R. A. 2006. Pulse Voltammetry. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Eltron Research Inc., Boulder, USA

  2. 2

    North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


This article covers fundamentals and applications of pulse voltammetry. These techniques use a train of timed potential pulses to perturb the electrode–solution interface. Electron transfer reactions are driven at the electrode surface during each pulse. Current flowing as a result of electron transfer is measured at specified times during the pulse. Popular pulse voltammetric methods include normal pulse voltammetry (NPV), reverse pulse voltammetry (RPV), square wave voltammetry (SWV) and differential pulse voltammetry (DPV). Pulse voltammetry generally provides improved signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) and a decreased lower limit of detection (LLD) compared with continuous electrolysis methods such as cyclic voltammetry (CV), by controlling the extent of electrolysis prior to current measurement and discrimination against background processes. A concise discussion of the basic concepts behind thevarious pulse voltammetric methods is presented, followed by method-specific discussions of the most popular methods. Instrumentation and practical experimental considerations are covered. Finally, a discussion of selected illustrative applications of pulse voltammetry to analysis and other chemical problems is presented, demonstrating the use of these techniques as a laboratory tool.