Influence of Carbon Nanostructure and Oxygen Moieties on Dopamine Adsorption and Charge Transfer Kinetics at Glassy Carbon Surfaces


Abnormal levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine have been linked to a variety of neurochemical disorders including depression and Parkinson’s disease. Dopamine concentrations are often quantified electrochemically using biosensors prepared from carbon electrode materials such as carbon paste or glassy carbon. The charge transfer kinetics of dopamine is highly sensitive to carbon surface termination, including the presence of certain oxygen functional groups and adsorption sites. However, the nature of the binding sites and the effects of surface oxidation on the voltammetry of dopamine are both poorly understood. In this work the electrochemical response of dopamine at glassy carbon model surfaces was investigated to understand the effects of altering both the carbon nanostructure and oxygen surface chemistry on dopamine charge transfer kinetics and adsorption. Glassy carbon electrodes with low oxygen content and a high degree of surface graphitisation were prepared via thermal annealing at 900,°C, whilst highly oxidised glassy carbon electrodes were obtained through electrochemical anodisation at 1.8,V vs Ag/AgCl. The carbon surface structure and composition in each case was studied via X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy. Voltammetry in solutions of dopamine at acidic pH confirmed that both annealing and anodisation treatments result in carbon surfaces with rapid charge transfer kinetics. However, dopamine adsorption occurs only at the low-oxygen, highly-graphitized carbon surface. Density functional theory studies on graphene model surfaces reveal that this behaviour is due to non-covalent interactions between the π-system of dopamine and the basal sites in the annealed surface. Simulations also show that the introduction of oxygen moieties disrupt these interactions and inhibit dopamine adsorption, in agreement with experiments. The results clarify the role of oxygen moieties and basal plane sites in facilitating both the adsorption of and charge transfer to DA at carbon electrodes.

Electrochimica Acta