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Anal Chem. 2007 Jan 1;79(1):98-105.

Structure and electrochemical properties of carbon films prepared by a electron cyclotron resonance sputtering method.

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  • 1National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, 1-1-1 Higashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8566, Japan.


This paper describes the characterization, electrochemical properties, and applications of carbon films prepared by the electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) sputtering method. The ECR-sputtered carbon film was deposited within several minutes at room temperature. The optimized sputtering conditions significantly change the film structure, which includes many more sp3 bonds (sp3/sp2 = 0.702) than previously reported film (sp3/sp2 = 0.274)1 with an extremely flat surface (0.7 A). The ECR-sputtered carbon films exhibit excellent electrochemical properties. For example, they have nearly the same potential window in the positive direction as that of high-quality, boron-doped diamond (moderately doped, 10(19)-10(20) boron atoms/cm3)2 and an even wider potential window in the negative direction with a low background current, high stability, and suppression of fouling by electroactive species without pretreatment. The electron-transfer rates at ECR-sputtered carbon films are similar to those of glassy carbon (GC) for Ru(NH3)(6)(2+)/(3+) and Fe(CN)(6)(3-)/(4-), whereas they are much slower than those of GC for Fe2+/3+, dopamine oxidation, and O2 reduction due to weak interactions between electroactive species and the ECR-sputtered carbon film surface. Such a response can be attributed to the ultraflat surface and low surface O/C ratios of ECR-sputtered carbon films. ECR-sputtered carbon film is advantageous for measuring biochemicals with high oxidation potentials because of its wide potential window and high stability. Highly reproducible and well-defined cyclic voltammograms were obtained for histamine and azide ions with a peak potential at 1.25 and 1.12 V vs Ag/AgCl, respectively. The film is very stable for continuous voltammetry measurements in 10 microM bisphenol A, which usually fouls the electrode surface with oxidation products.

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