The electrochemistry of platinum electrodes in artificial perilymph solution subjected to cyclic and steady-state potentials was studied by a quartz crystal electrochemical microbalance and by analysis of electrolyte for dissolved platinum. The effect of amino acid adsorption appears to be one of blocking sites for platinum oxidation and oxide reduction, a process in which the amino acid competes with chloride from phosphate-buffered saline. For amino acids such as cysteine, which are known to interact strongly with platinum, the voltammograms became nearly featureless and only a small change in mass was observed during cycling of the potential. There were no mass changes of an electrode in solution containing human serum albumen, but its presence did inhibit dissolution of platinum. The overall magnitudes of dissolved platinum found in the buffered solutions were low, remaining below 5 ppb in most cases. Dissolution was greatest in solutions containing high concentrations of cysteine. Extrapolation of the results to implanted auditory prosthesis electrodes indicated that platinum dissolution would not lead to toxic concentrations in the body.
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