New Electrochemical Methods for Studying Nanoparticle Electrocatalysis and Neuronal Excocytosis
Cox, Jonathan T.
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This dissertation presents the construction and application of micro and nanoscale electrodes for electroanalytical analysis. The studies presented herein encompass two main areas: electrochemical catalysis, and studies of the dynamics of single cell exocytosis. The first portion of this dissertation engages the use of Pt nanoelectrodes to study the stability and electrocatalytic properties of materials. A single nanoparticle electrode (SNPE) was fabricated by immobilizing a single Au nanoparticle on a Pt disk nanoelectrode via an amine-terminated silane cross linker. In this manner we were able to effectively study the electrochemistry and electrocatalytic activity of single Au nanoparticles and found that the electrocatalytic activity is dependent on nanoparticle size. This study can further the understanding of the structure-function relationship in nanoparticle based electrocatalysis. Further work was conducted to probe the stability of Pt nanoelectrodes under conditions of potential cycling. Pt based catalysts are known to deteriorate under such conditions due to losses in electrochemical surface area and Pt dissolution. By using Pt disk nanoelectrodes we were able to study Pt dissolution via steady-state voltammetry. We observed an enhanced dissolution rate and higher charge density on nanoelectrodes than that previously found on macro scale electrodes. The goal of the second portion of this dissertation is to develop new analytical methods to study the dynamics of exocytosis from single cells. The secretion of neurotransmitters plays a key role in neuronal communication, and our studies highlight how bipolar electrochemistry can be employed to enhance detection of neurotransmitters from single cells. First, we developed a theory to quantitatively characterize the voltammetric behavior of bipolar carbon fiber microelectrodes and secondly applied those principles to single cell detection. We showed that by simply adding an additional redox mediator to the back-fill solution of a carbon fiber microelectrode, there is a significant enhancement in detection. Additionally we used solid state nanopores to detect individual phospholipid vesicles in solution. Vesicles are key cellular components that play essential biological roles especially in neurotransmission. This work represents preliminary studies in detection and size determination from vesicles isolated from individual cells.
- Chemistry