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© 2013 Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. This article deals with the fundamental principles of potentiometric sensors or ion-selective electrodes (ISEs), and an update on recent applications of ISE devices in the monitoring of key chemical species. Recent advances in the design, creation of new materials and theoretical understanding of basic membrane processes with ISEs has improved significantly the selectivity and detection limits allowing the detection of nanomolar concentrations in complex and difficult to analyze matrices. Moreover, the critical design features that enable the use of ISEs in battery electrolytes and other applications where physically and chemically robust electrodes are required has been addressed.