Can the mechanical activation (polishing) of screen-printed electrodes enhance their electroanalytical response?†
The mechanical activation (polishing) of screen-printed electrodes (SPEs) is explored and shown to exhibit an improved voltammetric response (in specific cases) when polished with either commonly available alumina slurry or diamond spray. Proof-of-concept is demonstrated for the electrochemical sensing of nitrite where an increase in the voltammetric current is found using both polishing protocols, exhibiting an improved limit of detection (3σ) and a two-fold increase in the electroanalytical sensitivity compared to the respective un-polished counterpart. It is found that mechanical activation/polishing increases the C/O ratio which significantly affects inner-sphere electrochemical probes only (whereas outer-sphere systems remain unaffected). Mechanical activation/polishing has the potential to be a simple pre-treatment technique that can be extended and routinely applied towards other analytes for an observable improvement in the electroanalytical response.