Polycaprolactone-enabled sealing and carbon composite electrode integration into electrochemical microfluidics†
Combining electrochemistry with microfluidics is attractive for a wide array of applications including multiplexing, automation, and high-throughput screening. Electrochemical instrumentation also has the advantage of being low-cost and can enable high analyte sensitivity. For many electrochemical microfluidic applications, carbon electrodes are more desirable than noble metals because they are resistant to fouling, have high activity, and large electrochemical solvent windows. At present, fabrication of electrochemical microfluidic devices bearing integrated carbon electrodes remains a challenge. Here, a new system for integrating polycaprolactone (PCL) and carbon composite electrodes into microfluidics is presented. The PCL : carbon composites have excellent electrochemical activity towards a wide range of analytes as well as high electrical conductivity (∼1000 S m−1). The new system utilizes a laser cutter for fast, simple fabrication of microfluidics using PCL as a bonding layer. As a proof-of-concept application, oil-in-water and water-in-oil droplets are electrochemically analysed. Small-scale electrochemical organic synthesis for TEMPO mediated alcohol oxidation is also demonstrated.