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Anal Chem. 2009 Jun 15;81(12):4762-9. doi: 10.1021/ac9002529.

Fully integrated three-dimensional electrodes for electrochemical detection in microchips: fabrication, characterization, and applications.

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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky 40292, USA.


A scalable and rather inexpensive solution to producing microanalytical systems with "on-chip" three-dimensional (3D) microelectrodes is presented in this study, along with applicability to practical electrochemical (EC) detection scenarios such as preconcentration and interferant removal. This technique to create high-aspect-ratio (as much as 4:1) gold microstructures in constrained areas involved the modification of stud bump geometry with microfabricated silicon molds via an optimized combination of temperature, pressure, and time. The microelectrodes that resulted consisted of an array of square pillars approximately 18 microm tall and 20 microm wide on each side, placed at the end of a microfabricated electrophoresis channel. This technique increased the active surface area of the microelectrodes by as much as a factor of 50, while mass transfer and, consequently, preconcentration collection efficiencies were increased to approximately 100%, compared to approximately 30% efficiency for planar nonmodified microelectrodes (samples that were used included the neurotransmitters dopamine and catechol). The 3D microelectrodes were used both in a stand-alone configuration, for direct EC detection of model catecholamine analytes, and, more interestingly, in dual electrode configurations for EC sample processing prior to detection downstream at a second planar electrode. In particular, the 3D electrodes were shown to be capable of performing coulometry or complete (100%) redox conversion of analyte species over a wide range of concentrations, from 4.3 microM to 4.4 mM, in either plug-flow or continuous-flow formats.

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