CheapStat: An Open-Source, “Do-It-Yourself” Potentiostat for Analytical and Educational Applications
Although potentiostats are the foundation of modern electrochemical research, they have seen relatively little application in resource-poor settings, such as undergraduate laboratory courses and the developing world. One reason for the low penetration of potentiostats is their cost, as even the least expensive commercially available laboratory potentiostats sell for more than one thousand dollars. An inexpensive electrochemical workstation could thus prove useful in educational labs, and increase access to electrochemistry-based analytical techniques for food, drug and environmental monitoring. With these motivations in mind, we describe here the CheapStat, an inexpensive (<$80), open-source (software and hardware), hand-held potentiostat that can be constructed by anyone who is proficient at assembling circuits. This device supports a number of potential waveforms necessary to perform cyclic, square wave, linear sweep and anodic stripping voltammetry. As we demonstrate, it is suitable for a wide range of applications ranging from food- and drug-quality testing to environmental monitoring, rapid DNA detection, and educational exercises. The device’s schematics, parts lists, circuit board layout files, sample experiments, and detailed assembly instructions are available in the supporting information and are released under an open hardware license.