Platinum electrode modification: Unique surface carbonization approach to improve performance and sensitivity

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Many microfluidic devices, also known as lab‐on‐a‐chip devices, employ electrochemical detection methods using microelectrodes. Miniaturizing electrodes inevitably reduces electrode sensitivity and decreases the S/N, which limits applications within microfluidic devices. However, microelectrode surface modification can increase the surface area and sensitivity. In the present work, we report substantial improvement in platinum electrode performance and sensitivity by coating with carbon from red blood cells. The larger goal of this work was to measure DC electrical resistances of red blood cell suspensions in a microchannel for hematocrit determination. It was observed that as current responses of red blood cell suspensions were measured, the platinum electrode performance (reproducibility and S/N) improved with time. The platinum electrode electrocatalytic activity for red blood cell current measurements improved by 140%. Systematic experimentation revealed that red blood cells adsorb and carbonize the platinum electrode surfaces. The electrode surfaces before and after performance improvements were analyzed by field emission scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectrometry, and Raman spectrometry. The formed carbon layers on the electrode surfaces were found to be proteomic and increased surface area with a porous three‐dimensional structure, thus improving performance and stabilizing currents.

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© 2015 WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1002/elps.201500227

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