In pyrolysis, organic precursor materials are transformed into carbon by heating at elevated temperatures in inert atmosphere such as nitrogen or argon. The properties of the resulting pyrolytic carbon microstructures can be tailored by the selection of the precursor material, the geometry of the polymer template and the process parameters during pyrolysis. In our group, we use pyrolysis for fabrication of microelectrodes, cell scaffolds and micromechanical sensors.


Carbon materials

At present, we are investigating pyrolysis of various polymer precursors to obtain different carbon materials. We evaluate the influence of gas composition, temperature and time on composition, porosity, surface roughness, electrical properties and electrochemical performance.

A: Pyrolysed polystyrene (PS); B: Pyrolysed polystyrene-PDMS (PS-PDMS)

3D carbon microstructures 

In the C-MEMS process photoresists such as SU-8 or AZ are patterned by photolithography followed by pyrolysis. In this way, it is possible to tailor the geometry of the resulting pyrolytic carbon microstructures. We develop novel methods for fabrication of 2D and 3D carbon microstructures based on the C-MEMS process. In particular, fabrication and pyrolysis of 3D SU-8 microstructures has been optimized to obtain pyrolytic carbon micropillars, microneedles, nanopillars, suspended grids or multi-layered scaffolds.


Pyrolysis equipment

A state-of-the art high temperature multi-purpose furnace PEO-604 from ATV Technologie GmbH, Germany, is available at DTU Danchip. The furnace runs with nitrogen and hydrogen, with a maximum temperature of 1100 C. Furthermore, we have access to a tube furnace at DTU Chemical Engineering.


  1. L. Amato, L. Schulte, A. Heiskanen, S. Keller, S. Ndoni, J. Emnéus, Novel nanostructured electrodes obtained by pyrolysis of composite polymeric materials, Electroanalysis 27 (2015) 3

  2. L. Amato, A. Heiskanen, R. Hansen, L. Gammelgaard, T. Rindzevicius, M. Tenje, J. Emnéus, S.S. Keller, ”Dense high-aspect ratio 3D carbon pillars on interdigitated microelectrode arrays, Carbon 94 (2015) 792-803



Prof. Jenny Emnéus, Bioanalytics group, DTU Nanotech

Senior Researcher Sokol Ndoni, Self-organized Nanoporous Materials group, DTU Nanotech 


Last updated 14.12.2016, Stephan Sylvest Keller