Honors Program

Honors in Chemistry

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Gregory W. Bishop

Thesis Professor Department

<--College of Arts and Sciences-->

Thesis Reader(s)

Catherine E. McCusker


Screen printed electrodes (SPEs), which are prepared by patterning conductive inks or pastes onto an insulating support (e.g., plastic film), are widely employed as sensing and biosensing platforms due to their ease of fabrication and relatively low cost. This is especially applicable to electrodes of this nature prepared with carbon-based inks (SPCEs). To date, the most successful and significant commercial application of SPEs has been as test strips for glucose meters. Despite the maturity of this technology, SPE research remains very active as improvements in sensitivity and selectivity, which often involve modifying the electrode surface, hold the key to advancing their utility in routine applications and extending their benefits to other target analytes. Recent studies in the Bishop research group have demonstrated that nitrogen-doped SPCEs (N-SPCEs) exhibit enhanced electrochemical response towards hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), a product of oxidase enzyme (e.g., glucose oxidase, lactate oxidase, etc.) reactions and a common target in biosensing strategies. The presence of nitrogen heteroatoms on the carbon surface facilitates breakage of oxygen-oxygen bonds, a key step in reduction of H2O2. Since previous studies showed only modest incorporation of nitrogen species on SPCEs prepared from commercial ink, these studies aim to investigate the possibility of enhancing N-doping by performing a simple pre-treatment strategy that reportedly increases surface oxygen content of SPCEs prior to N-doping. Since surface oxygen sites have been previously reported to be preferentially modified with nitrogen during N doping strategies, this seems like a promising technique for improving sensitivity of N-SPCEs for H2O2 reduction. To quantify the actuality of these claims, experimental groups were fabricated having undergone no enhancement, pretreatment enhancement only, nitrogen-doping enhancement only, and a combination of the pretreatment and nitrogen-doping enhancements. Here the electrochemical behaviors of pretreated SPCEs, N-SPCEs, and pretreated N-SPCEs for the detection of H2O2 by completing comparative cyclic voltammetry (CV) experiments with and without the presence of H2O2 and with it present in varying concentrations is compared. It is projected that, if successful, the fabricated electrodes that have undergone both the pretreatment protocol and the nitrogen-doping process will have an increased sensitivity and detection limit towards H2O2.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

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