Multiwalled Carbon-Nanotube-Functionalized Microelectrode Arrays Fabricated by Microcontact Printing: Platform for Studying Chemical and Electrical Neuronal Signaling
A facile method is proposed for the deposition of multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) layers onto microelectrode arrays by means of a microcontact printing technique, leading to the fabrication of MEAs characterized by well defined electrical and morphological properties. Using polydimethyl siloxane stamps, produced from different mold designs, a flexibility of printing is achieved that provides access to microscale, nanostructured electrodes. The thickness of MWCNT layers can be exactly predetermined by evaluating the concentration of the MWCNT solution employed in the process. The electrode morphology is further characterized using laser scanning and scanning electron microscopy. Next, by means of impedance spectroscopy analysis, the MWCNT-electrode contact resistance and MWCNT film resistance is measured, while electrochemical impedance spectroscopy is used to estimate the obtained electrode-electrolyte interface. Structural and electrochemical properties make these electrodes suitable for electrical stimulation and recording of neurons and electrochemical detection of dopamine. MWCNT-functionalized electrodes show the ability to detect micromolar amounts of dopamine with a sensitivity of 19 nA mu M-1. In combination with their biosensing properties, preliminary electrophysiological measurements show that MWCNT microelectrodes have recording properties superior to those of commercial TiN microelectrodes when detecting neuronal electrical activity under long-term cell-culture conditions. MWCNT-functionalized microelectrode arrays fabricated by microcontact printing represent a versatile and multipurpose platform for cell-culture monitoring.