Highly Uniform, Flexible Microelectrodes Based on the Clean Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Thin Film with High Electrochemical Activity
Viet, N.X.; Kishimoto, S.; Ohno, Y.
Acs Applied Materials and Interfaces 11(6): 6389-6395
ISSN/ISBN: 1944-8252 PMID: 30672689 DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b19252
Electrochemical sensors based on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have great potential for use in wearable or implantable biomedical sensor applications because of their excellent mechanical flexibility and biocompatibility. However, the main challenge associated with CNT-based sensors is their uniform and reproducible fabrication on the flexible plastic film. Here, we introduce and demonstrate a highly reliable technique to fabricate flexible CNT microelectrodes on a plastic film. The technique involves a process whereby the CNT film is formed by the dry transfer process based on the floating-catalyst chemical vapor deposition. An oxide protection layer, which is used to cover the CNT thin film during the fabrication process, minimizes contamination of the surface. The fabricated flexible CNT microelectrodes show almost ideal electrochemical characteristics for microelectrodes with the average value of the quartile potentials, Δ E = | E3/4 - E1/4|, being 60.4 ± 2.9 mV for the 28 electrodes, while the ideal value of Δ E = 56.4 mV. The CNT microelectrodes also showed enhanced resistance to surface fouling during dopamine oxidation in comparison to carbon fiber and gold microelectrodes; the degradation of the oxidation current after 10 consecutive cycles were 1.8, 8.3, and 13.9% for CNT, carbon fiber, and gold microelectrodes, respectively. The high-sensitivity detection of dopamine is also demonstrated with differential-pulse voltammetry, with a resulting limit of detection of ∼50 nM. The reliability, uniformity, and sensitivity of the present CNT microelectrodes provide a platform for flexible electrochemical sensors.