UATEC - Unidade de Transferência de Tecnologia

New electrochemical etching device which allows producing Sharp metal wires at the micro- or nanoscale in less than 1 minute

Posted by UATEC - Unidade de Transferência de TecnologiaResponsive · Patents for licensing · Portugal

Summary of the technology

The state-of-the-art technology for individual micro- or nanoelectrodes is based on expensive techniques such as FIB (Focused Ion Beam). The less expensive electrochemical techniques are based on somewhat complex circuitry and require the use of ultra-fast current cut-off systems at the nanosecond scale.
This electrochemical sharpening method constitutes allows to produce microelectrodes in less than 1 minute in a reproducible, simple and inexpensive manner in therms of required equipment, device assembly and technical execution.

Description of the technology

A research group from University of Aveiro has developed na electrochemical sharpenning method which allows producing Sharp metal wires at the micro- or nanoscale in less than 1 minute. The invention enables the fast preparation of microelectrodes for immediate use or for recovering with coatings of other materials. Comparing with state-of-the-art methods, this process offers a faster, simpler and less expensive way of producing microelectrodes. The university is looking for companies or research institutes which are interested in the use of metallic micro/nanoelectrodes directly or as substrates for coating with different materials


Method and device for the fabrication of microelectrodes by electrochemical etching of metallic wires. The method described here allows sharpening metallic wires in order to give them a conical shape with micro or anno dimensions in less than 1 minute. Such electrodes are useful in electric or electrochemical operations. They can be coated or not and work as sensors or stimulators, particularly for operation in small volumes or in situations where it is imperative to minimize invasive effects. Thus, life science and medicine related areas constitute important application fields of the technology we propose. Currently the inventors use the invention as base for the production of microelectrodes for corrosion studies, but any technological sector which demands the use of small electrodes constitutes a viable application field.

Main advantages of its use

  • This invention is na alternative way of producing micro or nanoelectrodes, based on an inexpensive, easy to assemble, 3 component device. There is currently no device in the market that allows such a simple, cost-effective and fast way of producing microelectrodes.


  • The invention constitutes an important way of producing metallic micrelectrodes for immediate use or coating with other materials. Given the fast growth and development of nanotechnologies and microfabrication in recent years, as well as of new materials, the use of this invention can follow mainly two paths: Production and commercialization of sharp metallic wires by a company to supply other industry or research dedicated clients; assembly of the sharpening system for self-consumption of microelectrodes mainly as substrates, which would be more relevant if it is important to characterize other materials in confined volumes as is commonly the case of research institutes or equivalents.

Related keywords

  • Electrical Engineering and Technology / Electrical Equipment
  • Other analytical and scientific instrumentation
  • Electrochemical etching device
  • sharp metal wires
  • preparation of microelectrodes
  • metallic nanoelectrodes
  • micro nanoelectrodes
  • focused Ion Beam
  • electrochemical techniques
  • electrochemical sharpening method
  • electrochemical etching metallic wires
  • microfabrication
  • scanning microscopy.

About UATEC - Unidade de Transferência de Tecnologia

Technology Transfer Office from Portugal

The University of Aveiro is a young and innovative university, which fosters entrepreneurship and technology and knowledge transfer, with expertise in a wide range of knowledge areas namely IT, Life Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Health, Environmental Sciences), Nanotechnology and Materials Science, Mechanics, Physics, Mathematics, Building, Design and Management. UATEC is the Technology Transfer Office of University of Aveiro. This office engages in value adding activities such as start-up and spin-off creation, support to university-industry cooperation (sponsored research and consultancy services), IP protection and prosecution, licensing, marketing, among others. It covers four main interrelated functional areas – Intellectual Property Management, Licensing, Entrepreneurship, and Industry Liaison.

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