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Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 13;7:42543. doi: 10.1038/srep42543.

Rapid prototyping of all-solution-processed multi-lengthscale electrodes using polymer-induced thin film wrinkling.

Author information

1
McMaster University, School of Biomedical Engineering, Hamilton, L8S 4L7, Canada.
2
McMaster University, Department of Engineering Physics, Hamilton, L8S 4L7, Canada.

Abstract

Three-dimensional electrodes that are controllable over multiple lengthscales are very important for use in bioanalytical systems that integrate solid-phase devices with solution-phase samples. Here we present a fabrication method based on all-solution-processing and thin film wrinkling using smart polymers that is ideal for rapid prototyping of tunable three-dimensional electrodes and is extendable to large volume manufacturing. Although all-solution-processing is an attractive alternative to vapor-based techniques for low-cost manufacturing of electrodes, it often results in films suffering from low conductivity and poor substrate adhesion. These limitations are addressed here by using a smart polymer to create a conformal layer of overlapping wrinkles on the substrate to shorten the current path and embed the conductor onto the polymer layer. The structural evolution of these wrinkled electrodes, deposited by electroless deposition onto a nanoparticle seed layer, is studied at varying deposition times to understand its effects on structural parameters such as porosity, wrinkle wavelength and height. Furthermore, the effect of structural parameters on functional properties such as electro-active surface area and surface-enhanced Raman scattering is investigated. It is found that wrinkling of electroless-deposited thin films can be used to reduce sheet resistance, increase surface area, and enhance the surface-enhanced Raman scattering signal.

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