Journal of Analytical & Bioanalytical Techniques
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Ion Selective Electrodes (ISEs) are the chemical sensors of longest history and
probably the most frequent routine application. The most commonly used ion
selective electrode is the pH described it in 1906. By the mid 1960�s the Orion
Research Inc was producing calcium electrodes for the use in blood gas analyzers
(Frant 1994). Since then numerous electrodes has been developed for the analysis
of samples containing many different ions. A chemical sensor detects the presence
of specific chemical or class of chemical in any sample. These are miniaturized
analytical devices, which can deliver real-time and on-line information on the
presence of specific compounds or ions in complex samples. Usually the analyte
recognition takes place followed by the conversion of chemical information into an
electrical or optical signal.
The basic ISE setup includes a potentiometer, a probe (selective for each analyte of
interest) and various consumables used for the pH or an ionic strength adjustment,
which makes the cost of initial setup low as compared to other techniques. ISE
determinations are not subject to interferences such as colour in the sample. Thus
in past two decades, there has been a growing interest in search for ionophores
(electroactive material) that can chemically recognize specific ion and offer either
new or improved selectivity for different ions. The limited availability of such materials
makes it difficult to develop efficient sensors and hence this is a demanding field of
ISEs now being exploited as detectors in flow injection analysis systems. In such
systems, the dynamic behaviour of an ISE assumes great importance, since this
will determine the signal shape and the sampling rate. Characterizing the dynamic
behaviour of ISEs constitutes the third area of advancement in this research field.
Physiological and biological applications of ISEs have been a goal since the inception
of the field. Miniaturization in instrumentation seems to be the current paradigm in
the ISEs study which leads to the development of microelectrodes for intracellular
measurements of ion activities. Finally, commercial application of these electrodes
is the major area to be worked upon.
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