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Defence of dissertation in the field of Electronics Integration and Reliability, M.Sc. (Tech.) Tommi Palomäki

The title of thesis is “Electrochemical properties of amorphous carbon based materials”

Amorphous carbon is a very hard and wear resistant metastable form of carbon that is commonly used as a coating in several applications that require very good mechanical properties such as in car engines or in artificial hip joints.

In this dissertation, we investigated the use of amorphous carbon in a completely new application: as an electrochemical thin film sensor for the detection of dopamine. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter that affects cognitive, behavioral and motor functions in the human brain, and it is also related to several neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

The results showed that amorphous carbon has several beneficial electrochemical properties compared to present sensor materials including a low background current that improves its signal-to-noise ratio, and a large potential window that allows the detection of various molecules. We also showed that amorphous carbon modified with carbon nanotubes could be used as a highly sensitive and selective electrochemical sensor for measuring physiologically relevant concentrations of dopamine (~40 nM) in the presence of its main interfering compounds.

The combination of good mechanical properties, excellent sensor performance and inherent biocompatibility gives amorphous carbon potential to be used as an implantable sensor material. This would be useful in various medical applications and diagnostics. For example, in the case of Parkinson’s disease, dopamine levels could be directly monitored in the brain in order to understand disease progression and efficacy of medical treatment to provide patient-centered care.

Opponent:  Professor Frank Marken, University of Bath, United Kingdom

Custos: Professor Tomi Laurila, Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation.

Thesis website

Contact information: Tommi Palomäki, Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation, [email protected]

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