MPCVD-Grown Nanodiamond Microelectrodes with Oxygen Plasma Activation for Neurochemical Applications




Nanodiamonds (NDs) are a carbon nanomaterial that has a diamond core with heteroatoms and defects at the surface. The large surface area, defect sites, and functional groups on NDs make them a promising material for electrochemical sensing. Previously, we dip-coated ND onto carbon-fiber microelectrodes (CFMEs) and found increases in sensitivity, but the coating was sparse. Here, we directly grew thin films of ND on niobium wires using microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (MP-CVD) to provide full surface coverage. ND microelectrodes show a reliable performance in neurotransmitter detection with good antifouling properties. To improve sensitivity, we oxygen plasma etched ND films to activate the surface and intentionally add defects and oxygen surface functional groups. For fast-scan cyclic voltammetry detection of dopamine, oxygen plasma-etching increases the sensitivity from 21 nA/μM to 90 nA/μM after treatment. Fouling was tested by repeated injections of serotonin or tyramine, and both ND and plasma oxidized nanodiamond (NDO) microelectrodes maintain their currents better compared to CFMEs and therefore are more antifouling. A biofouling test in brain slices shows that ND microelectrodes barely have any current drop, while the more hydrophilic NDO microelectrodes decrease more, but still not as much as CFMEs. Overall, grown ND microelectrodes are promising in neurotransmitter detection with excellent fouling resistance, whereas oxygen plasma etching slightly lowers the fouling resistance but dramatically increases sensitivity.



Last updated on 01/19/2023