Investigations of the feasibility of constructing a polypyrrole-mercury/ mercury chloride reference electrode

Nicole L. Pickup, Meng Lam, Dusan Milojevic, Richard Y. Bi, Jacob S. Shapiro, Danny K. Y. Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


A polypyrrole-mercury/mercury chloride reference electrode was initially constructed by in situ electropolymerization of pyrrole on a mercury pool anode in a 0.5 M sodium para-toluene sulfonate and 1.0 M sodium chloride mixture solution. However, in this procedure, insufficient amount of mercury was incorporated in the polypyrrole film for reaction with chloride ions to yield a mercury/mercury chloride half cell. Alternatively, a polypyrrole film was galvanostatically deposited on a glassy carbon electrode in the presence of sodium para-toluene sulfonate. Mercury was electrochemically deposited from mercury(I) nitrate at the polypyrrole-coated electrode. The resulting film was deprotonated in 5 M NaOH. Cyclic voltammetry was then carried out in 10 M HCl in order to exchange the para-toluene sulfonate ions with chloride ions and to oxidize mercury for the formation of mercury chloride within the film. A reproducible null potential difference was obtained when the polypyrrole-mercury/mercury chloride electrode was employed as an indicator electrode against a saturated calomel reference electrode in saturated potassium chloride solution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2561-2565
Number of pages5
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 1997


  • acid-basetreatments of polypyrrole
  • polypyrrole
  • polypyrrole-mercury/mercury chloride reference electrodes
  • potentiometric measurements
  • saturated calomel electrodes

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