Analytical chemistry

Liquid-phase chemical and biochemical detection using fully integrated magnetically actuated complementary metal oxide semiconductor resonant cantilever sensor systems.

PMID 17297968


A novel resonant cantilever sensor system for liquid-phase applications is presented. The monolithic system consists of an array of four electromagnetically actuated cantilevers with transistor-based readout, an analog feedback circuit, and a digital interface. The biochemical sensor chip with a size of 3 mm x 4.5 mm is fabricated in an industrial complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) process with subsequent CMOS-compatible micromachining. A package, which protects the electrical components and the associated circuitry against liquid exposure, allows for a stable operation of the resonant cantilevers in liquid environments. The device is operated at the fundamental cantilever resonance frequency of approximately 200 kHz in water with a frequency stability better than 3 Hz. The use of the integrated CMOS resonant cantilever system as a chemical sensor for the detection of volatile organic compounds in liquid environments is demonstrated. Low concentrations of toluene, xylenes, and ethylbenzene in deionized water have been detected by coating the cantilevers with chemically sensitive polymers. The liquid-phase detection of analyte concentrations in the single-ppm range has been achieved. Furthermore, the application of this sensor system to the label-free detection of biomarkers, such as tumor markers, is shown. By functionalizing the cantilevers with anti-prostate-specific antigen antibody (anti-PSA), the corresponding antigen (PSA) has been detected at concentration levels as low as 10 ng/mL in a sample fluid.

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