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It is both a source of iodide and a mild reducing agent. It is used as a component in the electrolyte of dye sensitized solar cells. In the field of synthetic organic chemistry, it is used in the preparation of alkyl or aryl iodo compounds. It is employed as a nucleophilic catalyst in the alkylations with alkyl bromide, chloride, tosylate and mesylate. In the presence of acid it forms hydroiodic acid, which is a strong reducing agent. It is useful in producing Lugols solution (or Lugols iodne) which finds many applications including starch testing, gram stains, and etching of gold surfaces.
Kolvari, E.; Amoozadeh, A.; Koukabi, N.; Otokesh, S.; Isari, M. Aryl diazonium nanomagnetic sulfate and potassium iodide: an iodination process. Tetrahedron Lett. 2014, 55 (27), 3648 - 3651.
Uma Maheswari, C.; Sathish Kumar, G.; Venkateshwar, M. Transition metal and base free synthesis of 2-aryl-2-oxazolines from aldehydes and β-amino alcohols catalysed by potassium iodide. RSC Adv. 2014, 4, 39897-39900.