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Laser Treated Carbon Nanotube Yarn Microelectrodes for Rapid and Sensitive Detection of Dopamine in Vivo

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journal contribution
posted on 26.02.2016 by Cheng Yang, Elefterios Trikantzopoulos, Michael D. Nguyen, Christopher B. Jacobs, Ying Wang, Masoud Mahjouri-Samani, Ilia N. Ivanov, B. Jill Venton
Carbon nanotube yarn microelectrodes (CNTYMEs) exhibit rapid and selective detection of dopamine with fast-scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV); however, the sensitivity limits their application in vivo. In this study, we introduce laser treatment as a simple, reliable, and efficient approach to improve the sensitivity of CNTYMEs by threefold while maintaining high temporal resolution. The effect of laser treatment on the microelectrode surface was characterized by scanning electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, energy dispersion spectroscopy, and laser scanning confocal microscopy. Laser treatment increases the surface area and oxygen containing functional groups on the surface, which provides more adsorption sites for dopamine than at unmodified CNTYMEs. Moreover, similar to unmodified CNTYMEs, the dopamine signal at laser treated CNTYMEs is not dependent on scan repetition frequency, unlike the current at carbon fiber microelectrodes (CFMEs) which decreases with increasing scan repetition frequency. This frequency independence is caused by the significantly larger surface roughness which would trap dopamine-o-quinone and amplify the dopamine signal. CNTYMEs were applied as an in vivo sensor with FSCV for the first time, and laser treated CNTYMEs maintained high dopamine sensitivity compared to CFMEs with an increased scan repetition frequency of 50 Hz, which is 5-fold faster than the conventional frequency. CNTYMEs with laser treatment are advantageous because of their easy fabrication, high reproducibility, fast electron transfer kinetics, high sensitivity, and rapid in vivo measurement of dopamine and could be a potential alternative to CFMEs in the future.