# How to differentiate a metal from its ion?

I am working on metal and its ion. The problem is, I would like to know whether the metal has been converted to its ionic form or not.

The hypothesis for the analysis is: Metals are good conductors and ions possess redox potential. Therefore, by measuring the conductance and red-ox potential is it possible to differentiate whether I have metal or metal ion.

The question is

1. Based on the hypothesis, can I expect a positive result?
2. Apart from this, is there any other technique where I can qualitatively / quantitatively measure metal and its ion?
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Hi Anil, this question really needs some clarification. In what context are you trying to detect whether a metal M is present in its zero-charge metallic form, or in its ionic form M$^{m+}$? Is that for an aqueuous solution? Or for some other system? – F'x Apr 27 '12 at 11:53
Also, some context into your own level in chemistry would help tailor a better answer, once the question will be clear… – F'x Apr 27 '12 at 12:53
I find your question extremely vague. "Working on a metal and its ion" is like "working on carbon and its compounds" - not very informative. What exactly is the problem you're facing? – CHM Apr 27 '12 at 20:31

If you're looking for an electrochemical method for identifying ionization states, I would suggest cyclic voltammetry.

I like this quote from online lectures notes:

Cyclic voltammetry has been called the "electrochemical equivalent of spectroscopy" because it can be used to determine oxidation state, E° of each redox process that the compound can undergo and can even be used to study the kinetics of the redox process. Cyclic voltammetry is one of the standard characterization methods in most inorganic laboratories.

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Other than the excellent answer by F'x, there is also actual spectroscopy, specifically UV/Vis spectroscopy. This'll only work if the metal has transitions in the right range, though -- transition metals, lanthanides and actinides are usually fine, s or p-block metals and metalloids, probably not.

Then you're looking for the absorption/transmission spectrum of the ion and the metal separately, and how much of each there is in a combined spectrum. It's not strictly quantitative, but you can get a good idea of the ratios.

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