Standardized Characterization of Electrocatalytic Electrodes



This paper investigates the utility of ‘cross–lab’ comparative analysis of electrocatalytic electrode performance using standardized modular stack cells and test protocols. Using poly(methylene green)-modified glassy carbon electrodes as the model system, we characterized electrode fabrication and performance with respect to the catalytic oxidation of NADH at neutral pH and low overpotential. Three sets of experiments were duplicated across four independent laboratories and the experimental results from each set were analyzed and compared in terms of key electroanalytical parameters. Statistical analyses were performed at three distinct levels: 1) the standard deviation among repetitive cycles within an experiment; 2) the standard deviation among repetitive experiments in the same laboratory, and 3) the standard deviation among experiments performed across all four laboratories. Using predefined criteria of ‘reproducibility’ for each level, most parameters were found to be statistically reproducible at most levels. When a particular parameter was found to be irreproducible in a given level, commentary is given on how that information can be used diagnose what chemical/physical aspects of the process were uncontrolled or poorly understood and therefore candidates for future research. This exercise, which is presented as a ‘proof–of-principle’ step towards the concept of standardizing electrocatalytic evaluation, illustrates the importance of executing electrochemical characterization protocols across several labs and using fixed geometry and dimensions, system configuration, and applied electrochemical conditions. Future work is under way to extend these principles to systems with fluid flow.