Summary

The reference probe is an often overlooked aspect in impedance spectroscopy. Yet a high impedance reference is a major source of errors and distortions. The voltage divider concept was used to generalize and explain the interplay of instrument limitation, electrolyte conductivity, reference resistance and capacitance. A simple experiment on yttria-stabilized zirconia shows that a high impedance reference electrode does indeed produce a large error, and that this error obeys the voltage-divider equation. One solution to minimize this type of error is to carefully select and design a low impedance reference electrode.

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