Chemistry 117: Electrochemistry

Home | Lectures | Homework Sets | Labs | Solutions Sets | Final Exam | Articles


Winter 2017

Instructor: Nate Lewis,

TA:    Kimberly Papadantonakis,

Office Hours: By appointment, G131 Jorgensen

Textbook: Bard & Faulkner, Electrochemical Methods, 2nd Ed. ISBN: 9780471043720


The course will consist of 19 lectures, four homework sets, three laboratory assignments, and a final exam.  The lectures are available on video, and can be downloaded here.  The homework sets can be downloaded here.  The course will also include two meetings to discuss special topics.  After each homework assignment is due, solution sets will be posted here.

Safety training is required prior to participation in lab sessions, and the dates and times safety training sessions are TBA, tentatively during the week of Jan 9. 

Additional materials (nobel lectures and papers, including Nicholson & Shain) are available here.

Homework Collaboration Policy: You may not consult any previous solutions or any answers to problem sets from earlier years or any published solutions you find for any of the assigned problems.  Collaboration is allowed, but you must write up the solutions by yourself and you must understand the answers that you give.  You may consult the course lectures, notes, and text for the homework sets.

Homework Late Policy: Problem sets are due to the box outside of 210A Noyes no later than 2:30 p.m. on the due date (unless otherwise specified by the TA).  For each partial day that the homework is late, 25% will be subtracted from the final grade.  In order to pass the course, all of the homework and laboratory assignments must be turned in (even if they are so late that no credit is given).


Tentative schedule:

Week of

Lecture numbers and topics

Reading in Bard & Faulkner, Chapters and Topics

Assignments and due dates

Lab or Special Topic

Jan 2

1 – Potential-controlled experiments

1 – Introduction and overview of electrode processes



Jan 9

2 – Potential-controlled experiments and Tafel/Butler-Volmer kinetics;

3 – Tafel/Butler-Volmer (cont’) and Fuel cells

2.2-2.4 – Potentials and selective electrodes

3 – Kinetics of electrode reactions



Jan 16

4 – Fuel cells (cont’d)

5 – Potentiostats and reference electrodes

3 (cont’d) – Kinetics of electrode reactions

15 – Electrochemical Instrumentation

PS 1 due Jan 18

Lab: double-layer capacitance, linear-sweep voltammetry, Tafel slopes

Jan 23

6, 7, 8 – Diffusion and potential-jump experiments

4 – Mass transfer by migration and diffusion

9 – Hydrodynamic methods


Special topic: polarography;

Jan 25 at 2:30 in 121 Beckman Institute.

Jan 30

9 – Chronocoulometry

5 – Basic potential step methods

PS 2 due Thursday, Feb 2


Feb 6

10, 11 – Cyclic Voltammetry

6 – Potential sweep methods


Lab: rotating disk electrodes

Feb 13

12, 13 – Marcus theory and surface modified electrodes

7 – Polarography and pulse voltammetry

PS 3 due Feb 15


Feb 20

14, 15 AC techniques and semiconductor electrochemistry

10.1-10.4 – Impedance techniques

Labs 1-2 due Feb 22

Feb 27

16, 17 – Double layer structure, microelectrodes and ultramicroelectrodes

13 – Double-layer structure and adsorption

Lab: cyclic voltammetry

Mar 6

18, 19 – Marcus theory, homogeneous and heterogeneous electron transfer

12 – Electrode reactions with coupled homogeneous chemical reactions

18.2 – Photoelectrochemistry at semiconductors

PS 4 due Mar 9

Lab: cyclic voltammetry (cont’d)

Special topic: semiconductor electrodes; Mar 9 at 2:30 in 216 Noyes.

Mar 13



Lab 3 due March 16

Final exam due March 16