Magnetic entrapment as a fast and simple strategy for electrode modification with carbon nanotubes. Application to dopamine detection

E Baldrich, R Gómez, G Gabriel, FX Muñoz

Biosens Bioelectron. 2011 Jan 15;26(5):1876-82

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20378329

Abstract

Carbon nanotubes (CNT) have been exploited for an important number of electroanalytical and sensing purposes. Specifically, CNT incorporation to an electrode surface coating increases its roughness and area, provides electrocatalytic activity towards a variety of molecules, and improves electron transfer. This modification is generally based on the irreversible deposition of CNT on surface. Nevertheless, CNT are highly porous materials that might promote molecule non-specific adsorption and/or electrodeposition, which could induce sample-to-sample cross-contamination and affect measurement specificity and reproducibility. This drawback has been often circumvented by combining CNT with charged polymers able to repel molecules of opposed charge. We demonstrate that single-walled CNT (SWCNT) have a strong tendency to non-specifically adsorb onto the surface of protein-coated magnetic particles (MP). Magnetic capture of those MP generates CNT coentrapment and allows extremely fast, simple and reversible production of SWCNT electrodes. We have exploited this phenomenon for the production of modified screen-printed electrodes (MP/CNT-SPE), which have been characterized by Scanning Electron Microscopy. The surface has been additionally optimized by evaluating the electrochemical performance of SPE modified with different amounts and proportions of MP and CNT. The modified devices have then been used for dopamine detection. MP/CNT-SPE generated improved assay sensitivity, lower limit of detection, and up to 500% higher current signals than bare electrodes. Magnetic entrapment is proposed as a promising strategy for the fast, simple and reversible generation of nanostructured electrodes of enhanced performance within a few minutes and electrode re-utilisation by simple magnet removal and surface washing.