Impedance characterization, degradation, and in vitro biocompatibility for platinum electrodes on BioMEMS

Thomas Geninatti, Giacomo Bruno, Bernardo Barile, R. Lyle Hood, Marco Farina, Jeffrey Schmulen, Giancarlo Canavese, Alessandro Grattoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Fine control of molecular transport through microfluidic systems can be obtained by modulation of an applied electrical field across channels with the use of electrodes. In BioMEMS designed for biological fluids and in vivo applications, electrodes must be biocompatible, biorobust and stable. In this work, the analysis and characterization of platinum (Pt) electrodes integrated on silicon substrates for biomedical applications are presented. Electrodes were incorporated on the surface of silicon chips by adhesion of laminated Pt foils or deposited at 30°, 45° or 90° angle by e-beam or physical vapor (sputtering) methods. Electrical and physical properties of the electrodes were quantified and evaluated using electrical impedance spectroscopy and modelling of the electrode-electrolyte interfaces. Electrode degradation in saline solution at pH 7.4 was tested at room temperature and under accelerated conditions (90 °C), both in the presence and absence of an applied electrical potential. Degradation was quantified using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS). Biocompatibility was assessed by MTT proliferation assay with human dermal fibroblasts. Results demonstrated that the deposited electrodes were biocompatible with negligible material degradation and exhibited electrochemical behavior similar to Pt foils, especially for e-beam deposited electrodes. Finally, Pt electrodes e-beam deposited on silicon nanofabricated nanochannel membranes were evaluated for controlled drug delivery applications. By tuning a low applied electrical potential (<1.5 VDC) to the electrodes, temporal modulation of the dendritic fullerene 1 (DF-1) release from a source reservoir was successfully achieved as a proof of concept, highlighting the potential of deposited electrodes in biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBiomedical Microdevices
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 8 2015


  • Drug delivery
  • E-beam deposition
  • Implantable electrodes
  • Nanochannel membranes
  • Sputter deposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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