Pencil graphite leads as simple amperometric sensors for microchip electrophoresis

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Sep 12, 2017
  • Author: Eiva Natiele Tiago da Silva, Jacqueline Marques Petroni, Bruno Gabriel Lucca, Valdir Souza Ferreira
  • Journal: ELECTROPHORESIS

Abstract

In this work we demonstrate, for the first time, the use of inexpensive commercial pencil graphite leads as simple amperometric sensors for microchip electrophoresis. A PDMS support containing one channel was fabricated through soft lithography and sanded pencil graphite leads were inserted into this channel to be used as working electrodes. The electrochemical and morphological characterization of the sensor was carried out. The graphite electrode was coupled to PDMS microchips in end‐channel configuration and electrophoretic experiments were performed using nitrite and ascorbate as probe analytes. The analytes were successfully separated and detected in well‐defined peaks with satisfactory resolution using the microfluidic platform proposed. The repeatability of the pencil graphite electrode was satisfactory (RSD values of 1.6% for nitrite and 12.3% for ascorbate, regarding the peak currents) and its lifetime was estimated to be ca. 700 electrophoretic runs over a cost of ca. $ 0.05 per electrode. The limits of detection achieved with this system were 2.8 μM for nitrite and 5.7 μM for ascorbate. For proof of principle, the pencil graphite electrode was employed for the real analysis of well water samples and nitrite was successfully quantified at levels below its maximum contaminant level established in Brazil and US.

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