ACS Sensors

Scalable Nanostructured Carbon Electrode Arrays for Enhanced Dopamine Detection

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Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that modulates arousal and motivation in humans and animals. It plays a central role in the brain "reward" system. Its dysregulation is involved in several debilitating disorders such as addiction, depression, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia. Dopamine neurotransmission and its reuptake in extracellular space takes place with millisecond temporal and nanometer spatial resolution. Novel nanoscale electrodes are needed with superior sensitivity and improved spatial resolution to gain an improved understanding of dopamine dysregulation. We report on a scalable fabrication of dopamine neurochemical probes of a nanostructured glassy carbon that is smaller than any existing dopamine sensor and arrays of more than 6000 nanorod probes. We also report on the electrochemical dopamine sensing of the glassy carbon nanorod electrode. Compared with a carbon fiber, the nanostructured glassy carbon nanorods provide about 2× higher sensitivity per unit area for dopamine sensing and more than 5× higher signal per unit area at low concentration of dopamine, with comparable LOD and time response. These glassy carbon nanorods were fabricated by pyrolysis of a lithographically defined polymeric nanostructure with an industry standard semiconductor fabrication infrastructure. The scalable fabrication strategy offers the potential to integrate these nanoscale carbon rods with an integrated circuit control system and with other complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) compatible sensors.