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Transparent Anodic TiO2 Nanotube Arrays on Plastic Substrates for Disposable Biosensors and Flexible Electronics

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Exploitation of anodically formed self-organized TiO2 nanotube arrays in mass-manufactured, disposable biosensors, rollable electrochromic displays and flexible large-area solar cells would greatly benefit from integration with transparent and flexible polymeric substrates. Such integration requires the vacuum deposition of a thin film of titanium on the desired substrate, which is then anodized in suitable media to generate TiO2 nanotube arrays. However the challenges associated with control of Ti film morphology, nanotube array synthesis conditions, and film adhesion and transparency, have necessitated the use of substrate heating during deposition to temperatures of at least 300 °C and as high as 500 °C to generate highly ordered open-pore nanotube arrays, thus preventing the use of polymeric substrates. We report on a film growth technique that exploits atomic peening to achieve high quality transparent TiO2 nanotube arrays with lengths up to 5.1 μm at room temperature on polyimide substrates without the need for substrate heating or substrate biasing or a Kauffman ion source. The superior optical quality and uniformity of the nanotube arrays was evidenced by the high specular reflectivity and the smooth pattern of periodic interferometric fringes in the transmission spectra of the nanotube arrays, from which the wavelength-dependent effective refractive index was extracted for the air-TiO2 composite medium. A fluorescent immunoassay biosensor constructed using 5.1 μm-long transparent titania nanotube arrays (TTNAs) grown on Kapton substrates detected human cardiac troponin I at a concentration of 0.1 μg ml−1.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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