In this paper, we report on the effect of carboxyl-and amine terminations on a boron-doped diamond surface (BDD) in relation to pH sensitivity. Carboxyl termination was achieved by anodization oxidation in Carmody buffer solution (pH 7). The carboxyl-terminated diamond surface was exposed to nitrogen radicals to generate an amine-terminated surface. The pH sensitivity of the carboxyl-and amine-terminated surfaces was measured from pH 2 to pH 12. The pH sensitivities of the carboxyl-terminated surface at low and high pH are 45 and 3 mV/pH, respectively. The pH sensitivity after amine termination is significantly higher—the pH sensitivities at low and high pH are 65 and 24 mV/pH, respectively. We find that the negatively-charged surface properties of the carboxyl-terminated surface due to ionization of –COOH causes very low pH detection in the high pH region (pH 7–12). In the case of the amine-terminated surface, the surface properties are interchangeable in both acidic and basic solutions; therefore, we observed pH detection at both low and high pH regions. The results presented here may provide molecular-level understanding of surface properties with charged ions in pH solutions. The understanding of these surface terminations on BDD substrate may be useful to design diamond-based biosensors.
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