Fabrication, characterisation and electroanalysis at 1-dimensional nanostructures

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Wahl, Amélie
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University College Cork
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Integrated nanowire electrodes that permit direct, sensitive and rapid electrochemical based detection of chemical and biological species are a powerful emerging class of sensor devices. As critical dimensions of the electrodes enter the nanoscale, radial analyte diffusion profiles to the electrode dominate with a corresponding enhancement in mass transport, steady-state sigmoidal voltammograms, low depletion of target molecules and faster analysis. To optimise these sensors it is necessary to fully understand the factors that influence performance limits including: electrode geometry, electrode dimensions, electrode separation distances (within nanowire arrays) and diffusional mass transport. Therefore, in this thesis, theoretical simulations of analyte diffusion occurring at a variety of electrode designs were undertaken using Comsol Multiphysics®. Sensor devices were fabricated and corresponding experiments were performed to challenge simulation results. Two approaches for the fabrication and integration of metal nanowire electrodes are presented: Template Electrodeposition and Electron-Beam Lithography. These approaches allow for the fabrication of nanowires which may be subsequently integrated at silicon chip substrates to form fully functional electrochemical devices. Simulated and experimental results were found to be in excellent agreement validating the simulation model. The electrochemical characteristics exhibited by nanowire electrodes fabricated by electronbeam lithography were directly compared against electrochemical performance of a commercial ultra-microdisc electrode. Steady-state cyclic voltammograms in ferrocenemonocarboxylic acid at single ultra-microdisc electrodes were observed at low to medium scan rates (≤ 500 mV.s-1). At nanowires, steady-state responses were observed at ultra-high scan rates (up to 50,000 mV.s-1), thus allowing for much faster analysis (20 ms). Approaches for elucidating faradaic signal without the requirement for background subtraction were also developed. Furthermore, diffusional process occurring at arrays with increasing inter-electrode distance and increasing number of nanowires were explored. Diffusion profiles existing at nanowire arrays were simulated with Comsol Multiphysics®. A range of scan rates were modelled, and experiments were undertaken at 5,000 mV.s-1 since this allows rapid data capture required for, e.g., biomedical, environmental and pharmaceutical diagnostic applications.
Nanotechnology , Nanowire electrodes , Electrochemistry , Electroanalysis , Electrochemistry
Wahl, A. J. C. 2013. Fabrication, characterisation and electroanalysis at 1-dimensional nanostructures . PhD Thesis, University College Cork.