By: Petr Vanýsek

Edward AchesonThe discovery of an electric arc can be tied to the use of an electrochemical energy source. Sir Humphry Davy described in 1800 an electric discharge using electrochemical cells1 that produced what we would call a spark, rather than an arc. However, in 1808, using an electrochemical battery containing 2000 plates of copper and zinc, he demonstrated an electric arc 8cm long. Davy is also credited with naming the phenomenon an arc (Fig. 1). An electric arc was also discovered independently in 1802 by Russian physicist Vasily Petrov, who also proposed various possible applications including arc welding. There was a long gap between the discovery of the electric arc and putting it to use.

Electrochemical cells were not a practical source to supply a sustained high current for an electric arc. A useful application of this low voltage and high current arc discharge became possible only once mechanical generators were constructed. Charles Francis Brush developed a dynamo, an electric generator, in 1878, that was able to supply electricity for his design of arc lights. Those were deployed first in Philadelphia and by 1881 a number of cities had electric arc public lights. Once that happened, the application and new discoveries for the use of the electric arc followed. Electric arc for illumination was certainly in the forefront. First, electric light extended greatly the human activities into the night and second, public street electric lights, attracting masses of spectators, were the source of admiration, inspiration, and no doubt, more invention.


By: Roque Calvo, ECS Executive Director

ECS at 115In April 1902, upon the conclusion of the Society’s first meeting in Philadelphia, the Society’s first president wrote the column below, which was printed in the Society’s first publication, explaining the rationale to form The American Electrochemical Society.

Evidence accumulates on every hand that the analogue of the specialist in science is the society which specializes. Whether for good or ill, whether some of its influences are narrowing in some directions or not, the society which specializes is the necessary corollary of the scientific specialist; the latter came perforce into existence, has made the whole world his debtor, and is recognized as the present factor for progress; the former is coming perforce into existence, will soon make the world its immeasurable debtor, and will be a wonderfully potent factor in future scientific progress.

Such is the force, the necessary condition, which has brought into existence The American Electrochemical Society. … Its functions should be those of bringing electrochemists into personal contact with each other; of disseminating among them all the information known to, and which can be spared by, their co-workers; to stimulate original thought in these lines by
mutual interchange of experience, and by papers and discussions; to stimulate electrochemical work all over the world. …

Such a society … being, therefore, a necessity, a pressing need, its formation was inevitable. It came. … The results have justified the insight of the projectors of the society, the first meeting has been an enthusiastic success, the organization now exists, its future is one of assured usefulness. With confidence we stand out to sea.


By: Gary W. Hunter, Raed A. Dweik, Darby B. Makel, Claude C. Grisby, Ryan S. Mayes, and Cristian E. Davis

IOTThe advent of the Internet of Things suggests the potential for broad dissemination of information through a world of networked systems. An aspect of this paradigm is reflected in the concept of Smart Sensors Systems previously described in Interface: Complete self-contained sensor systems that include multi-parameter sensing, data logging, processing and analysis, self-contained power, and an ability to transmit or display information.

One application of Smart Sensor Systems is in the healthcare field. The concept of smart technologies that can monitor a patient’s health, assist in remote assessment by a health care provider, and improve the patient’s quality of life with limited intrusion and decreased costs is another aspect of a more interconnected world composed of distributed intelligent systems. One area where smart sensor systems may have a significant health care impact is in the area of breath analysis.

Breath analysis techniques offer a potential revolution in health care diagnostics, especially if these techniques can be brought into standard use. Of particular interest is the development of portable breath monitoring systems that can be used outside of a clinical setting, such as at home or during an activity. This article provides a brief overview of the motivation for breath monitoring, possible components of portable breath monitoring systems, and provides an example of this approach.

Read the full article in the winter 2016 edition of Interface.

Share Your Success in Interface

InterfaceCalling all ECS members! Has your section or student chapter achieved something momentous in recent months, or will it do so before mid-October? Tell us about it and you just might see your submission published. ECS wants to highlight YOUR news in the Winter 2016 edition of Interface!

ECS takes pride in its members and is consistently honored to call attention to their accomplishments and share their stories. Please do not hesitate to inform us of noteworthy events or developments in your section or student chapter. We want to recognize your successes!

Please note: While Interface actively encourages submissions of news from sections and thus places few restrictions upon them, certain guidelines must be adhered to in preparing submissions.


25 Years of Interface

Interface Prototype

In December of 1992, the premier issue of Interface was published with a cover celebrating Rudolph Marcus’s winning of the Nobel Prize that year. But did you know that prior to that first issue of Interface, ECS published its members magazine prototype named the Quarterly? It was published in January 1992 and its cover showed a porous silicon sample luminescing in the visible when irradiated by an argon ion laser.

In that prototype issue, then ECS president Larry Faulkner said in his Letter from the President, “The periodic self-analysis of the Society’s agenda and structure is an extremely important part of our life. Without it, we will fail to adapt effectively to a changing environment, so the work is essential in the strictest sense.” Still good advice today.

Now, over 90 issues later, we’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of Interface. Throughout the issues this year, readers will be treated to special excerpts looking back at some of the top moments in the magazine’s history.

We’re inviting readers to share their thoughts about Interface, in particular how the magazine may have impacted your research or career. Send your thoughts to

Tech Highlights

Check out what’s trending in electrochemical and solid state science and technology! Read some of the most exciting and innovative papers that have been recently published in ECS’s journals.

The articles highlighted below are free! Follow the links to get the full-text version.

Towards Implantable Bio-Supercapacitors: Pseudocapacitance of Ruthenium Oxide Nanoparticles and Nanosheets in Acids, Buffered Solutions, and Bioelectrolyte
Since the early 1990s when ruthenium oxide-based electrode materials were found to have pseudocapacitive properties, they have been extensively investigated as promising supercapacitor electrodes. A best benchmark example is RuO2·nH2O in combination with H2SO4 as the electrolyte, being able to operate with high voltage window, high capacitance and long cycle life. Read the rest.

Influence of the Altered Surface Layer on the Corrosion of AA5083

Aluminum alloys are increasingly replacing heavier materials in transportation, military and other applications, oftentimes in environments demanding of exceptional corrosion performance. In this regard, AA5083 has served as one of the alloys of choice for marine applications. Read the rest.

Advances in 3D Printing of Functional Nanomaterials
The intense and widespread interest in additive manufacturing techniques, including 3D printing, has resulted in an approximately $5 billion industry today with projections for growth to $15-20 billion by 2018. The commercial availability of 3D printing equipment, and the development of flexible additive manufacturing platforms in R&D laboratories, has provided a foundation for researchers to perform fundamental research in the materials science and engineering of polymers, organic materials, ceramics, inks, pastes, and other materials. Read the rest.


Disingenuous Scientometrics

The following is an article from the latest issue of Interface by co-editor Vijay Ramani.

The precise definition of the “impact” of a research product (e.g. publication) varies significantly among disciplines, and even among individuals within a given discipline. While some may recognize scholarly impact as paramount, others may emphasize the economic impact, the broad societal impact, or some combination therein. Given that the timeframe across which said impact is assessed can also vary substantially, it is safe to say that no formula exists that will yield a standardized and reproducible measure. The difficulties inherent in truly assessing research impact appear to be matched only by the convenience of the numerous flawed metrics that are currently in vogue among those doing the assessing.

Needless to say, many of these metrics are used outside the context for which they were originally developed. In using these measures, we are essentially sacrificing rigor and accuracy in favor of convenience (alas, a tradeoff that far too many in the community are willing to make!).


Interface Student News Submission Guidelines

interface-latest-coverThe following guidelines were constructed by Petr Vanýsek, the Co-Editor of Interface.

Interface encourages submissions of news from student groups. Therefore, we try to keep the “rules” to a minimum. However, some guidance will help in preparing the material.

Timeliness:  Interface is published every three month, therefore a report on something that happened no more than 6 months makes sense. Waiting more than six months will make it “old news.”

Details: Be specific. If you describe an activity, state Where, When, Who.  Give the names of the speakers and other actors in the story. Double check the spelling of the names, both persons and places. Consider, whether someone may prefer to be referred to (in a publication) by Ms., Dr. of Prof., instead of a first name.

Formatting: Do not format your documents, except for paragraphs and italics, etc., if you need them. The text will be reformatted anyway. If you are submitting your newsletter, it is better to remove the layout. And please, do not embed pictures in the text. Give only the picture caption and send the pictures separately as individual files.

Photographs: They are fairly easy to take with modern electronics and we like contributions with pictures. They tell a better story.


Tech Highlights

Check out what’s trending in electrochemical and solid state technology! Read some of the most exciting and innovative papers that have been recently published in ECS’s journals.

The articles highlighted below are free! Follow the links to get the full-text version.

Development of Hybrid Electro-Electroless Deposit (HEED) Coatings and Applications
Electrodeposition can be achieved via electroplating, whereby current is applied to the work piece serving as the cathode, or by using an electroless deposition process, wherein the reductant is a co-dissolved species in the plating solution. Researchers in Canada have developed a combined deposition process, termed hybrid electro-electroless deposition (HEED) to deposit two metals. Read the rest.

“Time of Flight” Electrochemistry
Measurement of molecular diffusion coefficients is important in understanding and determining the kinetics of physical and chemical processes. Among the measurement techniques employed are those based on pulsed field gradient nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, field flow fractionation, and electrochemistry. Read the rest.


3 Useful Electrochemistry Websites

Websites of NoteThis is the latest Websites of Note, a regular feature in the ECS magazine Interface researched by Zoltan Nagy, a semi-retired electrochemist.

Fuel Cells — Green Power
Although fuel cells have been around since 1839, it took 120 years until NASA demonstrated some of their potential applications in providing power during space flight. As a result of these successes, in the 1960s, industry began to recognize the commercial potential of fuel cells, but encountered technical barriers and high investment costs — fuel cells were not economically competitive with existing energy technologies. Since 1984, the Office of Transportation Technologies at the U.S. Department of Energy has been supporting research and development of fuel cell technology, and as a result, hundreds of companies around the world are now working towards making fuel cell technology pay off. Just as in the commercialization of the electric light bulb nearly one hundred years ago, today’s companies are being driven by technical, economic, and social forces such as high performance characteristics, reliability, durability, low cost, and environmental benefits.


  • Page 1 of 2
    • 1
    • 2