SEC_IRSpectroelectrochemistry combines both electrochemical and spectroscopic monitoring and opens a new way to investigate and unequivocally identify electroactive species or products of redox reactions.  Under potential control, spectroscopic information about in situ electrogenerated species can readily be obtained, including electronic absorption, vibrational modes and frequencies, light emission and scattering, magnetic resonance and circular dichroism. In the University of Reading, we are now able to offer reliable and high-level air-tight optically transparent thin-layer electrochemical (OTTLE) cells for UV-Vis-NIR-IR-FIR and (resonance) Raman spectroelectrochemistry at variable temperatures.   

Main features of the room temperature OTTLE cells:

  • Quick assembly, easy cleaning of the thin-solution chamber and working electrode (including strongly adsorbed decomposition products, using nitric acid) and maintenance. No need to purchase optical windows with each new electrode set.
  • Easy variation of window materials (e.g., CaF2, quartz, KBr, NaCl and PE) giving access to the whole UV-Vis-NIR-IR-FIR region.  Very convenient for a Raman microscope, especially in combination with NaCl windows.
  • No leakage, completely air-tight: highly suited for very air- and moisture-sensitive starting compounds and redox products as well as volatile solvents.  However, electrolysis in H2O or D2O is also possible.
  • Easy to be used in a glove box, in combination with fibre optics or built-in sample compartment. This is often convenient when handling extremely air-sensitive compounds. 
  • Outstanding thin-layer voltammetric behaviour, negligible diffusion in the thin solution layer and high stability in time
  • Rapid electrolysis
  • Small sample volumes required
  • Low level of electronic noise
  • Ready to use in all types of commercially available UV-Vis-NIR-IR spectro(photo)meters, using commercially available or easily fabricated cell holders.  No special optical accessories required.  Easily combined with fiber optics where convenient. 

Some additional advantages for low temperature measurements:

  • Temperature range of 295-175 K, using a flexible cryostatted cell holder
  • Efficient and accurate electronic temperature control within 1 K
  • Electrolysis can be completed rapidly even close to low temperature limits of electrolytes


 SEC_molecule    General Applications

Spectroelectrochemical techniques have been widely used in applications ranging from inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry to biochemistry, in the studies of redox pathways and series, electrocatalytic reactions, mixed-valence complexes, redox active coordination and organometallic compounds, electron transfer in proteins and biomolecules, and so on. 


About Us                                 

SEC_frantisekhartlFrantisek Hartl is Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Reading.  He is an internationally renowned researcher in the field of molecular spectroscopy, spectroelectrochemistry, redox catalysis and photoinduced electron and energy transfer.  He has published over 130 peer-reviewed papers and review articles over research spanning 25 years in Prague and Amsterdam.

Professor Hartl has recently established a new dedicated Spectroelectrochemical Research Laboratory in the Department of Chemistry.  The laboratory welcomes opportunities for academic collaborative research and partnerships with industry.  The laboratory can offer customised spectroelectrochemical cell design for specific applications and there have been new types of cells under development.  Establishment of the laboratory has been supported by the University of Reading and a number of companies including: Metrohm Autolab, Bruker Optics and Jeol.  

Contact us

  • Email:
    Prof. Frantisek Hartl

    Dr. Qiang Zeng

  • Phone:
    (office) +44 (0)118 378 7695

    (secretary) +44 (0)118 378 8454

  • Fax:
    +44 (0)118 378 6331

  • Address:
    Department of Chemistry,
    University of Reading,
    Whiteknights, Reading, UK
    RG6 6AD


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In 2013, 16 room temperature OTTLE cells were employed in 14 different laboratories world wide. For the updated customer map, please go to "see our coustomers". 


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