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Cyclic voltammetry – reverse scan

Disclaimer – my knowledge of CV is from textbooks and YouTube videos, haven’t ever done an experiment. Hence the dumb questions below:

  1. During the ‘reverse’ scan, does the polarity of the electrodes change? If not, then why is the current called ‘cathodic’ in the forward scan and ‘anodic’ in the reverse scan? The movement of the ions is going to be in the same direction if reduction and oxidation take place at the same electrodes throughout the experiment.
  2. What’s the point of the ‘reference’ electrode? If you stick just two electrodes into the electrolyte and connect them to a voltage source, then the potential difference across the electrodes can be measured directly from a voltmeter.

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