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Research Paper

Nanowire Modification to Enhance the Performance of Neurotransmitter Sensors

[+] Author and Article Information
Hung Cao

Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington, 416 Yates Street, NH 538, Box 19016, Arlington, TX 76019-0016hcao@uta.edu

J.-C. Chiao

Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington, 416 Yates Street, NH 538, Box 19016, Arlington, TX 76019-0016jcchiao@uta.edu

J. Nanotechnol. Eng. Med 1(4), 041006 (Oct 22, 2010) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002500 History: Received July 20, 2010; Revised August 19, 2010; Published October 22, 2010; Online October 22, 2010

In this work, we have developed a method to modify the platinum (Pt) working electrode with nanowires using vapor-solid-liquid (VLS) mechanism in order to increase the sensitivity of our microelectrochemical neurotransmitter sensors. Our sensor probes were manufactured from a 300μm thick silicon (Si) wafer with several electrode designs for implantation in various locations of the human central nervous system. The surfaces of electrodes were observed and characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and cyclic voltammetry (CV). The complete devices were made and used to demonstrate the enhancement in performance contributed by nanowires in the enzyme-based electrochemical sensing of L-glutamate, which is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter. Comparison between electrodes with and without nanowire modification was conducted, showing that the modification method is a good option to improve the performance of electrochemical sensors.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Fabrication processes: (a) thermal oxidation, (b) pattern Au/Ti layers by lift-off, (c) grow the Si-nanowires by the VLS method, (d) pattern the Pt/Ti layer by lift-off, (e) pattern SiO2 as the insulation layer, and (f) machining the probe by laser

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Figure 2

(a) Electrode configurations, (b) a SEM photo showing the probe tip, (c) two probing devices with different lengths of probes, and (d) the complete probing system with connections to the recorder ready for implantation

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Figure 3

A SEM photo of the Si-nanowire modified surface

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Figure 4

SEM photos of (a) a Pt thin film on a Si substrate without surface modification and (b) a Pt thin film on the Si-nanowire modified silicon wafer

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Figure 5

Cyclic voltammogram for the electrodes with and without nanowire modification

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Figure 6

Experiment setup for calibration

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Figure 7

Sensor responses at different concentrations of L-glutamate for sensors (a) without and (b) with Si-nanowire modification on the sensing electrodes

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