This review discusses a broad range of recent advances (2013–2017) in chemical imaging using electrochemical methods, with a particular focus on techniques that have been applied to study cellular processes, or techniques that show promise for use in this field in the future. Non-scanning techniques such as microelectrode arrays (MEAs) offer high time-resolution (<10 ms) imaging; however, at reduced spatial resolution. In contrast, scanning electrochemical probe microscopies (SEPMs) offer higher spatial resolution (as low as a few nm per pixel) imaging, with images collected typically over many minutes. Recent significant research efforts to improve the spatial resolution of SEPMs using nanoscale probes and to improve the temporal resolution using fast scanning have resulted in movie (multiple frame) imaging with frame rates as low as a few seconds per image. Many SEPM techniques lack chemical specificity or have poor selectivity (defined by the choice of applied potential for redox-active species). This can be improved using multifunctional probes, ion-selective electrodes and tip-integrated biosensors, although additional effort may be required to preserve sensor performance after miniaturization of these probes. We discuss advances to the field of electrochemical imaging, and technological developments which are anticipated to extend the range of processes that can be studied. This includes imaging cellular processes with increased sensor selectivity and at much improved spatiotemporal resolution than has been previously customary.
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