Glassy carbon microelectrode arrays enable voltage-peak separated simultaneous detection of dopamine and serotonin using fast scan cyclic voltammetry†
Progress in real-time, simultaneous in vivo detection of multiple neurotransmitters will help accelerate advances in neuroscience research. The need for development of probes capable of stable electrochemical detection of rapid neurotransmitter fluctuations with high sensitivity and selectivity and sub-second temporal resolution has, therefore, become compelling. Additionally, a higher spatial resolution multi-channel capability is required to capture the complex neurotransmission dynamics across different brain regions. These research needs have inspired the introduction of glassy carbon (GC) microelectrode arrays on flexible polymer substrates through carbon MEMS (C-MEMS) microfabrication process followed by a novel pattern transfer technique. These implantable GC microelectrodes provide unique advantages in electrochemical detection of electroactive neurotransmitters through the presence of active carboxyl, carbonyl, and hydroxyl functional groups. In addition, they offer fast electron transfer kinetics, capacitive electrochemical behavior, and wide electrochemical window. Here, we combine the use of these GC microelectrodes with the fast scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV) technique to optimize the co-detection of dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) in vitro and in vivo. We demonstrate that using optimized FSCV triangular waveform at scan rates ≤700 V s−1 and holding and switching at potentials of 0.4 and 1 V respectively, it is possible to discriminate voltage reduction and oxidation peaks of DA and 5-HT, with 5-HT contributing distinct multiple oxidation peaks. Taken together, our results present a compelling case for a carbon-based MEA platform rich with active functional groups that allows for repeatable and stable detection of electroactive multiple neurotransmitters at concentrations as low as 1.1 nM.