A new method of fabricating electrodes for microchip devices that involves the use of Teflon molds and a commercially available epoxy to embed electrodes of various sizes and compositions is described. The resulting epoxy base can be polished to generate a fresh electrode and sealed against poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS)-based fluidic structures. Microchip-based flow injection analysis was used to characterize the epoxy-embedded electrodes. It was shown that gold electrodes can be amalgamated with liquid mercury and the resulting mercury/gold electrode is used to selectively detect glutathione from lysed red blood cells. The ability to encapsulate multiple electrode materials of differing compositions enabled the integration of microchip electrophoresis with electrochemical detection. Finally, a unique feature of this approach is that the electrode connection is made from the bottom of the epoxy base. This enables the creation of three-dimensional gold pillar electrodes (65 microm in diameter and 27 microm in height) that can be integrated within a fluidic network. As compared with the use of a flat electrode of a similar diameter, the use of the pillar electrode led to improvements in both the sensitivity (72.1 pA/ microM for the pillar versus 4.2 pA/ microM for the flat electrode) and limit of detection (20 nM for the pillar versus 600 nM for the flat electrode), with catechol being the test analyte. These epoxy-embedded electrodes hold promise for the creation of inexpensive microfluidic devices that can be used to electrochemically detect biologically important analytes in a manner where the electrodes can be polished and a fresh electrode surface is generated as desired.
Selimovic, A., A.S. Johnson, I.Z. Kiss, R.S. Martin