Cyclic Voltammetry 1/4- Introduction

Moving from passive potentiometric experiments to potentiostatic experiments by controlling the potential was an important development. However, the step that followed towards potentiodynamic experiments may have been even more important for modern electrochemistry. Potentiodynamic experiments made it easy to collect all the data needed for a plot of current I versus potential E. These plots are called a voltammogram and the technique used for measuring is called voltammetry.

In a short period of time the cyclic voltammetry (CV) provides a lot of information and allows kinetic investigations. It is by far the most used technique by PalmSens customers. Experienced electrochemists read quite some information from the shape of a CV.


The experiment and its discussion should teach:

  • What is a cyclic voltammetry?
  • Why does a cyclic voltammogram show a specific shape?
  • What does the cyclic voltammogram say about reversibility?
  • How can a cyclic voltammogram help to distinguish adsorbed and free diffusing species?
  • How can a cyclic voltammogram be used to characterize catalysts?

Cyclic Voltammetry – the Most Used Technique

The following pages will give you the basic introduction to CV, and finally a PDF of the experiment which you can print and perform yourself!

Please note that teachers can request the answers to the question in the instructions, using

Cyclic Voltammetry - What is a Cyclic Voltammogram?