The Electrochemical Behavior of Carbon Fiber Microelectrodes Modified with Carbon Nanotubes Using a Two-Step Electroless Plating/Chemical Vapor Deposition Process

Sensors (Basel). 2017 Mar 30;17(4):725. doi: 10.3390/s17040725.


Carbon fiber microelectrode (CFME) has been extensively applied in the biosensor and chemical sensor domains. In order to improve the electrochemical activity and sensitivity of the CFME, a new CFME modified with carbon nanotubes (CNTs), denoted as CNTs/CFME, was fabricated and investigated. First, carbon fiber (CF) monofilaments grafted with CNTs (simplified as CNTs/CFs) were fabricated in two key steps: (i) nickel electroless plating, followed by (ii) chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Second, a single CNTs/CF monofilament was selected and encapsulated into a CNTs/CFME with a simple packaging method. The morphologies of as-prepared CNTs/CFs were characterized by scanning electron microscopy. The electrochemical properties of CNTs/CFMEs were measured in potassium ferrocyanide solution (K₄Fe(CN)₆), by using a cyclic voltammetry (CV) and a chronoamperometry method. Compared with a bare CFME, a CNTs/CFME showed better CV curves with a higher distinguishable redox peak and response current; the higher the CNT content was, the better the CV curves were. Because the as-grown CNTs significantly enhanced the effective electrode area of CNTs/CFME, the contact area between the electrode and reactant was enlarged, further increasing the electrocatalytic active site density. Furthermore, the modified microelectrode displayed almost the same electrochemical behavior after 104 days, exhibiting remarkable stability and outstanding reproducibility.

Keywords: biosensor; carbon fiber; carbon nanotubes; cyclic voltammetry; microelectrodes; reproducibility.