Plasma etched carbon microelectrode arrays for bioelectrical measurements

Joonas J. Heikkinen, Tiina Kaarela, Anastasia Ludwig, Tatiana Sukhanova, Shokoufeh Khakipoor, Sung Il Kim, Jeon Geon Han, Henri J. Huttunen, Claudio Rivera, Sari E. Lauri, Tomi Taira, Ville Jokinen, Sami Franssila*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Carbon-based materials have attracted much attention in biological applications like interfacing electrodes with neurons and cell growth platforms due to their natural biocompatibility and tailorable material properties. Here we have fabricated sputtered carbon thin film electrodes for bioelectrical measurements. Reactive ion etching (RIE) recipes were optimized with Taguchi method to etch the close field unbalanced magnetron sputtered carbon thin film (nanocarbon, nC) consisting of nanoscale crystalline sp2-domains in amorphous sp3-bonded backbone. Plasma etching processes used gas mixtures of Ar/O2/SF6/CHF3 for RIE and O2/SF6 for ICP-RIE. The highest achieved etch rate for nanocarbon was ≫389 nm/min and best chromium etch mask selectivity was 135:1. Biocompatibility of the material was tested with rat neuronal cultures. Next, we fabricated multielectrode arrays (MEA) with carbon recording electrodes and metal wiring. Organotypic brain slices grown on the MEAs were viable and showed characteristic spontaneous electrical network activity. The results demonstrate that interactions with nanocarbon substrate support neuronal survival and maturation of functional neuronal networks. Thus the material can have wide applications in biomedical research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-134
Number of pages9
JournalDiamond and Related Materials
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Carbon
  • Multielectrode array
  • Neuronal networks
  • Neurons
  • Reactive ion etching


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