Laser-scribed graphene presents an opportunity to print a new generation of disposable electrochemical sensors†
Graphene application within electrochemical sensing has been widely reported, but mainly as a composite, which adds summative effects to an underlying electrode. In this work we report the use of laser-scribed graphene as a distinct electrode patterned on a non-conducting flexible substrate. The laser-scribed graphene electrode compared favourably to established carbon macroelectrodes when evaluating both inner sphere and outer sphere redox probes, providing promise of extensive utility as an electrochemical sensor. The laser-scribed graphene electrode demonstrated the fastest heterogeneous electron transfer rate of all the electrodes evaluated with a k0 of 0.02373 cm s−1 for potassium ferricyanide, which exceeds commercially available edge plane pyrolytic graphite at 0.00260 cm s−1, basal plane pyrolytic graphite at 0.00033 cm s−1 and the very slow and effectively irreversible electrochemistry observed using single layer graphene. Finally and most significantly, a proof of principle system was fabricated using the laser-scribed graphene as working electrode, counter electrode and underlying base for the Ag/AgCl reference electrode, all in situ on the same planar flexible substrate, removing the requirement of macroscale external electrodes. The planar three electrode format operated with the same optimal electrode characteristics. Furthermore, the fabrication is inexpensive, scalable and compatible with a disposable biosensor format, considerably widening the potential applications in electrochemical bio-sensing for laser-scribed graphene.