Princeton Applied Research-VersaSCAN – Scanning Vibrating Electrode Technique (Model: SVET)

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SVET Overview

The Scanning Vibrating Electrode Technique uses a single wire to measures voltage drop in solution. This voltage drop is a result of local current at the surface of a sample. Measuring this voltage in  solution images the current at the sample surface. Current can be naturally occurring from a corrosion or biological process, or the current can be externally controlled using a galvanostat.

A piezo unit vibrates the probe in Z-direction (axis parallel to the sample). The amplitude of vibration may be only 10s of microns peak-to-peak. This small vibration provides a very small voltage to be measured.

Therefore, the response (signal + noise) at the probe is then gained by the electrometer. The gained output of the electrometer is then input to a Lock-In Amplifier. This, in turn, uses a phase detector along with a Reference at the same frequency of vibration to extract the small AC signal from the entire measured response. The VersaSCAN capitalizes on Ametek’s industry-leading Noise Characteristics of the Signal Recovery 7230 Lock-In Amplifier to provide superior measurement of these small signals.

The voltage recorded and the probe is repositioned. A data map results as voltage versus position are displayed.

A key application of SVET is to study corrosion process of bare metals. These metals could be galvanic couples or these could occur from local non-uniform corrosion events, such as pits or crevices.

Time-lapse experiment series provide the capability to literally watch the corrosion events happen – as different areas passivate and activate.

Additionally, there are many applications and references for the use and results of SVET used in biological systems.

The VersaSCAN SVET integrates the Base with a Signal Recovery Lock-in Amplifier, a piezo-based vibration module, an electrometer and a single wire- based probe.  The SVET technique measures voltage-drop in solution.  This voltage-drop exists in electrolyte due to local current activity at a sample surface.  SVET adds spatial resolution to applications such as non-uniform corrosion events, such as pits, welds and galvanic couples.  Additionally, there are biological applications to SVET.

  • Compatible Lock-in Amplifier:  Signal Recovery 7230

  • Capable of both single Line Scans and Area Scans

  • Capable of Time-Resolved Imaging when programmed as a sequence

  • Can perform Constant-Distance operation in conjunction with a topographic measurement technique, typically OSP


Lock-in Amplifier: 

      Noise Sensitivity

 13fA per second 

      Frequency Range

 1 mHz up to 250 kHz 

      Full Scale Sensitivity  

 from 10nV to 1V 

      DSP Stability

 Impervious to temperature drift

      High Mechanical Stability    

 No fan for failure 


 up to 30 microns vibration perpendicular to sample surface



 from 1x to 10,000x in decades





 Single-element probe

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