A microelectrode array with reproducible performance shows loss of consistency following functionalization with a self-assembled 6-mercapto-1-hexanol layer

Corrigan, Damion K. and Vezza, Vincent and Schulze, Holger and Bachmann, Till T. and Mount, Andrew R. and Walton, Anthony J. and Terry, Jonathan G. (2018) A microelectrode array with reproducible performance shows loss of consistency following functionalization with a self-assembled 6-mercapto-1-hexanol layer. Sensors, 18 (6). pp. 1891-1902. ISSN 1424-8220 (https://doi.org/10.3390/s18061891)

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For analytical applications involving label free biosensors and multiple measurements, i.e. across an electrode array, it is essential to develop complete sensor systems capable of functionalisation and of producing highly consistent responses. To achieve this, a multi-microelectrode device bearing twenty-four equivalent 50 µm diameter Pt disc microelectrodes was designed in an integrated 3-electrode system configuration and then fabricated. Cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy were used for initial electrochemical characterisation of the individual working electrodes. These confirmed the expected consistency of performance with a high degree of measurement reproducibility for each microelectrode across the array. With the aim of assessing the potential for production of an enhanced multi-electrode sensor for biomedical use, the working electrodes were then functionalised with 6-mercapto-1-hexanol (MCH). This is a well-known and commonly employed surface modification process, which involves the same principles of thiol attachment chemistry and self-assembled monolayer (SAM) formation commonly employed in the functionalisation of electrodes and the formation of biosensors. Following this SAM formation, the reproducibility of the observed electrochemical signal between electrodes was seen to decrease markedly, compromising the ability to achieve consistent analytical measurements from the sensor array following this relatively simple and well-established surface modification. To successfully and consistently functionalise the sensors it was necessary to dilute the constituent molecules by a factor of ten thousand to support adequate SAM formation on microelectrodes. The use of this multi-electrode device therefore demonstrates in a high throughput manner irreproducibility in the SAM formation process at the higher concentration, even though these electrodes are apparently functionalised simultaneously in the same film formation environment, confirming that the often seen significant electrode-to-electrode variation in label-free SAM biosensing films formed under such conditions is not likely to be due to variation in film deposition conditions, but rather kinetically controlled variation in the SAM layer formation process at these microelectrodes.


Corrigan, Damion K. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4647-7483, Vezza, Vincent, Schulze, Holger, Bachmann, Till T., Mount, Andrew R., Walton, Anthony J. and Terry, Jonathan G.;