Selectivity of potentiometric ion sensors

Eric Bakker, Emö Pretsch, Philippe Bühlmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

739 Scopus citations


Selectivities of solvent polymeric membrane ion-selective electrodes (ISEs) are quantitatively related to equilibria at the interface between the sample and the electrode membrane. However, only correctly determined selectivity coefficients allow accurate predictions of ISE responses to real- world samples. Moreover, they are also required for the optimization of ionophore structures and membrane compositions. Best suited for such purposes are potentiometric selectivity coefficients as defined already in the 1960s. This paper briefly reviews the basic relationships and focuses on possible biases in the determination of selectivity coefficients. The traditional methods to determine selectivity coefficients (separate solution method, fixed interference method) are still the sameas those originally proposed by IUPAC in 1976. However, several precautions are needed to obtain meaningful data. For example, errors arise when the response to a weakly interfering ion is also influenced by the primary ion leaching from the membrane. Wrong selectivity coefficients may be also obtained when the interfering agent is highly preferred and the electrode shows counterion interference. Recent advances show how such pitfalls can be avoided. A detailed recipe to determine correct potentiometric selectivity coefficients unaffected by such biases is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1127-1133
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2000


Dive into the research topics of 'Selectivity of potentiometric ion sensors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this