Due to the small size and extreme fragility of nanoelectrode surfaces, gentle plasma treatment is the optimal cleaning method for numerous electrode applications. The most popular alternative cleaning processes are mechanical polishing and washing with organic solvents. These methods are harsh and have the potential to change nanoelectrode size and geometry, thus complicating the replication of nano-electrochemical experiments. Furthermore, unlike these methodologies, plasma treatment is isotropic (all directional) such that all surfaces exposed to the plasma are cleaned. As a result, plasma treatment is capable of removing residues untouched by liquid solvents or polishing. Plasma breaks down and removes organic contamination that can interfere with electrode performance. For example, after plasma treatment, the maximum thermopower of graphene films was enhanced by oxygen plasma treatment from ∼80 μV/K to ∼700 μV/K in a study by Xiao et al. In the following papers, you will find examples of plasma treatments effective use in the cleaning of electrodes.
- Ben‐Amor, Salem, et al. “Oxygen plasma treatment of platinized ultramicroelectrodes increases sensitivity for hydrogen peroxide detection on mitochondria.” Electroanalysis 25.3 (2013): 656-663.
- Sun, Tong, Pierre-Yves Blanchard, and Michael V. Mirkin. “Cleaning nanoelectrodes with air plasma.”Analytical chemistry 87.8 (2015): 4092-4095.
- Xiao, Ni, et al. “Enhanced thermopower of graphene films with oxygen plasma treatment.”Acs Nano 5.4 (2011): 2749-2755.