Carbon nanotube/poly(methyl methacrylate) (CNT/PMMA) composite electrode fabricated by in situ polymerization for microchip capillary electrophoresis.
ABSTRACT We describe the development and application of a novel carbon nanotube/poly(methyl methacrylate) (CNT/PMMA) composite electrode as a sensitive amperometric detector of microchip capillary electrophoresis (CE). The composite electrode was fabricated by the in situ polymerization of a mixture of CNTs and prepolymerized methyl methacrylate in the microchannel of a piece of fused silica capillary under heat. The performance of this unique system was demonstrated by the separation and detection of phenolic pollutants and purines. The new CNT-based CE detector offered significantly lower operating potentials, yielded substantially enhanced signal-to-noise characteristics, and exhibited resistance to surface fouling and, hence, enhanced stability. Long-term stability and reproducibility with relative standard deviations of less than 5 % for the peak current (n=20) were also demonstrated. The simplicity and significant performance exhibited by the CNT/PMMA composite electrode indicate great promise for conventional CE, flowing-injection analysis, and other microfluidic analysis systems.