Potentiometric detection in ion chromatography using a metallic copper indicator electrode

Research paper by P. W. Alexander, P. R. Haddad, M. Trojanowicz

Indexed on: 01 Mar '85Published on: 01 Mar '85Published in: Chromatographia


A metallic copper electrode housed in a suitable flowcell is shown to be a sensitive and versatile potentiometric detector for ion chromatography. This electrode may be used for direct or indirect detection of many inorganic anions and cations and also for organic acids. In the direct detection mode, electrode response is based on either complexation of copper ions at the electrode surface by eluted species, or on oxidation and reduction reactions for eluted species which are strong oxidants or reductants. Direct detection is therefore applicable to such species as amino acids, organic acids, chloride, bromide, iodide, chlorate, bromate and iodate. Indirect detection is possible for anions which do not complex copper ions, provided a copper complexing ligand (such as phthalate) is used in the eluent; cations which complex this ligand are also detectable. Indirect detection may be used for species such as nitrite, nitrate, acetate, formate, succinate, benzoate, alkaline earth ions and transition metal ions. Electrode calibration relationships are discussed and sample separations are presented, together with some typical detection limits attainable in the direct and indirect detection modes.