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All-in-One Single-Print Additively Manufactured Electroanalytical Sensing Platforms

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posted on 15.12.2021, 19:08 by Robert D. Crapnell, Elena Bernalte, Alejandro Garcia-Miranda Ferrari, Matthew J. Whittingham, Rhys J. Williams, Nicholas J. Hurst, Craig E Banks
This manuscript provides the first report of a fully additively manufactured (AM) electrochemical cell printed all-in-one, where all the electrodes and cell are printed as one, requiring no post-assembly or external electrodes. The three-electrode cell is printed using a standard non-conductive poly­(lactic acid) (PLA)-based filament for the body and commercially available conductive carbon black/PLA (CB/PLA, ProtoPasta) for the three electrodes (working, counter, and reference; WE, CE, and RE, respectively). The electrochemical performance of the cell is evaluated first against the well-known near-ideal outer-sphere redox probe hexaamineruthenium­(III) chloride (RuHex), showing that the cell performs well using an AM electrode as the pseudo-RE. Electrochemical activation of the WE via chronoamperometry and NaOH provides enhanced electrochemical performances toward outer-sphere probes and for electroanalytical performance. It is shown that this activation can be completed using either an external commercial Ag|AgCl RE or through simply using the internal AM CB/PLA pseudo-RE and CE. This all-in-one electrochemical cell (AIOEC) was applied toward the well-known detection of ascorbic acid (AA) and acetaminophen (ACOP), achieving linear trends with limits of detection (LODs) of 13.6 ± 1.9 and 4.5 ± 0.9 μM, respectively. The determination of AA and ACOP in real samples from over-the-counter effervescent tablets was explored, and when analyzed individually, recoveries of 102.9 and 100.6% were achieved against UV–vis standards, respectively. Simultaneous detection of both targets was also achieved through detection in the same sample exhibiting 149.75 and 81.35% recoveries for AA and ACOP, respectively. These values differing from the originals are likely due to electrode fouling due to the AA oxidation being a surface-controlled process. The cell design produced herein is easily tunable toward different sample volumes or container shapes for various applications among aqueous electroanalytical sensing; however, it is a simple example of the capabilities of this manufacturing method. This work illustrates the next step in research synergising AM and electrochemistry, producing operational electrochemical sensing platforms in a single print, with no assembly and no requirements for exterior or commercial electrodes. Due to the flexibility, low-waste, and rapid prototyping of AM, there is scope for this work to be able to span and impact a plethora of research areas.