Pyrolytic carbon microelectrodes (PCMEs) are a promising alternative to their conventional metallic counterparts for various applications. Thus, methods for the simple and inexpensive patterning of PCMEs are highly sought after. Here, we demonstrate the fabrication of PCMEs through the selective pyrolysis of SU-8 photoresist by irradiation with a low-power, 806 nm, continuous wave, semiconductor-diode laser. The SU-8 was modified by adding Pro-Jet 800NP (FujiFilm) in order to ensure absorbance in the 800 nm range. The SU-8 precursor with absorber was successfully converted into pyrolytic carbon upon laser irradiation, which was not possible without an absorber. We demonstrated that the local laser pyrolysis (LLP) process in an inert nitrogen atmosphere with higher laser power and lower scan speed resulted in higher electrical conductance. The maximum conductivity achieved for a laser-pyrolyzed line was 14.2 ± 3.3 S/cm, with a line width and thickness of 28.3 ± 2.9 µm and 6.0 ± 1.0 µm, respectively, while the narrowest conductive line was just 13.5 ± 0.4 µm wide and 4.9 ± 0.5 µm thick. The LLP process seemed to be self-limiting, as multiple repetitive laser scans did not alter the properties of the carbonized lines. The direct laser writing of adjacent lines with an insulating gap down to ≤5 µm was achieved. Finally, multiple lines were seamlessly joined and intersected, enabling the writing of more complex designs with branching electrodes and the porosity of the carbon lines could be controlled by the scan speed.
- Laser pyrolysis
- Direct laser writing