Microfabrication of screen-printed nanoliter vials with embedded surface-modified electrodes

Jeffrey S. Lenihan, J. Christopher Ball, Vasilis G. Gavalas, Janet K. Lumpp, John Hines, Sylvia Daunert, Leonidas G. Bachas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A self-contained ion-selective sensing system within a nanoliter-volume vial has been developed by integrating screen printing, laser ablation, and molecular imprinting techniques. Screen printing and laser ablation are used in tandem to fabricate nanoliter-volume vials with carbon and Ag/AgCl ring electrodes embedded in the sidewalls. Using multisweep cyclic voltammetry, the surface of the carbon electrode can be modified with a polypyrrole film. By polymerizing pyrrole in the presence of nitrate, pores complementary to the nitrate anion in size, shape, and charge distribution are formed in the resulting film. Electrochemical cells modified with this nitrate-imprinted polypyrrole film show a near-Nernstian response to nitrate, and excellent reproducibility. The integration of molecular recognition and electrochemical response in the nanoliter vials is demonstrated by the detection of as little as 0.36 ng nitrate in nanoliter-volume samples. The integration of tailored molecular recognition within nanoliter vials via established fabrication and imprinting protocols should result in a number of nanosensor devices with applications in BioMEMS and micro total analysis systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-265
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment The authors wish to thank the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Kentucky Research Challenge Trust Fund, and the National Science Foundation IGERT program for funding this work.


  • Ion-selective sensing
  • Microfabrication
  • Nanoliter vials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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