Currently, cancer accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths in the United States which rates it as the second most common cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart diseases. The detection, prevention and treatment of these death-causing diseases have necessitated and led to the development of novel tools for interfacing with single live cells –intracellular cell physiology. A major challenge, preventing the realization of effective and efficient intracellular physiology, is the lack of minimally invasive, nanoscale electrodes capable of probing cells without causing cell damage or death. Previous studies have succeeded in fabricating single nanoscale electrodes suitable for cell probing, but in this research, we introduce the controllable fabrication of Multibore Carbon Nanopipettes (MCNPs) –nanoscale probes with multiple, independent hollow carbon nanoscale electrodes within one very small tip – in three stages: (i) forming templates by pulling micropipettes from theta glass capillaries (pipette pulling); (ii) selectively depositing carbon via CVD on the lumen walls of the micropipette (carbon deposition); and (iii) exposing the two carbon nanostructures formed at the micropipette tip with selective wet-etching (carbon exposure).

These MCNPs, suitable for cell probing, also incorporate a multifunctionality that is yet to be seen in existing microelectrodes. Here, we present the step-by-step, repeatable methodology in fabricating MCNPs, the governing parameters at different stages of fabrication and the effects of varying these parameters. We establish that the MCNP geometry can be defined at the pulling stage, where the taper length and diameter of the pipette have an inverse relationship; carbon thickness is defined at the carbon deposition stage and the carbon exposure stage defines the exposed carbon length. We also showed the capability of our MCNPs for intracellular injection by demonstrating their effectiveness in fluid transport and delivery. The fabrication technique offers a repeatable and low cost process of manufacturing MCNPs, thereby making it a commercially viable nanomanufacturing technique that will enable numerous intracellular applications beyond cell probing. Finally, the continuous development of the MCNPs for these numerous intracellular applications may bring about a reform in single cell analysis, biomedical research and disease pathology research.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nanomanufacturing; Nanostructured materials; Carbon nanotubes; Cancer--Diagnosis--Technological innovations

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Materials Science and Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Chemistry and Materials Science (COS)


Michael G. Schrlau

Advisor/Committee Member

Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard

Advisor/Committee Member

Kalathur Santhanam


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at T174.7 .A769 2015


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes