Multifunctional carbon nanoelectrodes fabricated by focused ion beam milling†
We report a strategy for fabrication of sub-micron, multifunctional carbon electrodes and application of these electrodes as probes for scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) and scanning ion conductance microscopy (SICM). The fabrication process utilized chemical vapor deposition of parylene, followed by thermal pyrolysis to form conductive carbon and then further deposition of parylene to form an insulation layer. To achieve well-defined electrode geometries, two methods of electrode exposure were utilized. In the first method, carbon probes were masked in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) to obtain a cone-shaped electrode. In the second method, the electrode area was exposed via milling with a focused ion beam (FIB) to reveal a carbon ring electrode, carbon ring/platinum disk electrode, or carbon ring/nanopore electrode. Carbon electrodes were batch fabricated (∼35/batch) through the vapor deposition process and were characterized with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), and cyclic voltammetry (CV) measurements. Additionally, Raman spectroscopy was utilized to examine the effects of Ga+ ion implantation, a result of FIB milling. Constant-height, feedback mode SECM was performed with conical carbon electrodes and carbon ring electrodes. We demonstrate the utility of carbon ring/nanopore electrodes with SECM-SICM to simultaneously collect topography, ion current and electrochemical current images. In addition, carbon ring/nanopore electrodes were utilized in substrate generation/tip collection (SG/TC) SECM. In SG/TC SECM, localized delivery of redox molecules affords a higher resolution, than when the redox molecules are present in the bath solution. Multifunctional geometries of carbon electrode probes will find utility in electroanalytical applications, in general, and more specifically with electrochemical microscopy as discussed herein.