Controlled functionalisation of single-walled carbon nanotube network electrodes for the enhanced voltammetric detection of dopamine
Voltammetric studies of dopamine (DA) oxidation on pristine and acid-treated single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) network electrodes were undertaken in order to investigate both the effect of network density and acid treatment times on the voltammetric characteristics for DA oxidation and the susceptibility of the electrodes to fouling. Through careful control of catalysed chemical vapour deposition growth parameters, multiply interconnected and randomly oriented SWNT networks of two significantly different densities were grown (high density, HD, coverage ≫10 μm length of SWNT per μm−2 and low density, LD, coverage = 5 (±1) μmSWNT μm−2). Acid treatment was performed to provide materials with different electrochemical properties and SWNT coverage, as determined by field emission-scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and micro-Raman spectroscopy. A high concentration of DA (100 μM) was deliberately employed to accelerate the fouling phenomenon associated with DA oxidation in order to evaluate the lifetime of the electrodes. HD pristine SWNT networks were found to promote more facile electron transfer (ET) and were less susceptible to blocking, compared to LD pristine SWNT networks. Acid treatment resulted in both a further enhancement of the ET rate and a reduction in susceptibility towards electrode fouling. However, lengthy acid treatment detrimentally affected ET, due to a decrease in network density and significant damage to the SWNT network structure. These studies highlight the subtle interplay between SWNT coverage and degree of acid functionalisation when seeking to achieve the optimal SWNT electrode for the voltammetric detection of DA.