Science & Enterprise subscription

Follow us on Twitter

  • Findings from a Pew Research Center survey released this week show more Americans with smartphones use their phones… https://t.co/soaDH8vMqH
    about 15 hours ago
  • New post on Science and Enterprise: Infographic – Phones Top Internet Access Method https://t.co/hdvwSmDiWK #Science #Business
    about 15 hours ago
  • Results from a small-scale clinical trial show an implanted device that stimulates the vagus nerve helps reduce the… https://t.co/V26Ad9owmQ
    about 2 days ago
  • New post on Science and Enterprise: Nerve Stimulation Reduces Arthritis Inflammation https://t.co/Ii2j6AeLHA #Science #Business
    about 2 days ago
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is backing research to combine a microscopy technique that grows the size of… https://t.co/nknh7V0ZqG
    about 2 days ago

Please share Science & Enterprise

Vibrating Microsensors Developed for Detection, Testing

Tuning fork (amonja/Flickr)Engineers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana have applied tiny vibrating microcantilevers to sensors that could detect chemical and biological substances. Their research is described in this week’s online issue of the Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems (paid subscription required), and a patent is pending on their invention.

The team led by mechanical engineering professor Jeffrey Rhoads used minute slivers of silicon secured at one end that vibrate when a particle of a substance being tested bends the cantilever beyond its normal state, thus changing the vibration and subsequently the frequency of that vibration. Analyzing the frequency change normally reveals the particle’s presence and potentially its mass and composition.

As miniaturization of these devices increases, however, it becomes more difficult to measure frequency change. Rhoads and colleagues at Purdue came up with an alternative measure, namely the amplitude or amount of bend in the cantilever, rather than frequency. Measuring amplitude is easier than measuring frequency, say the researchers, because amplitude changes dramatically when a particle lands on the microcantilever, whereas the change in frequency is minute.

The research aims to apply this new approach to sensors capable of reliably measuring particles that have a mass of less than one picogram — one trillionth of a gram — at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. Based on this objective, researchers tested the cantilevers in a chamber filled with precisely controlled quantities of methanol to study their reliability. The findings show that the new sensors should be capable of more reliably measuring smaller quantities of gas than is possible with current sensors.

“We’ve made the signal processing part easier,” says Rhoads, “enabling small-scale, lower-power sensors, which are more reliable and have the potential for higher sensitivities.”

The microcantilever sensors have the potential to detect and measure components of substances such as certain proteins or DNA for biological testing in liquids, gases, and in the air. Devices based on this technology could be used in breath analyzers, industrial and food processing, security and defense, and food and water quality monitoring.

Read more: Medical Sensor Powered by Music Vibrations Developed

Photo: amonja/Flickr

*     *     *

Please share Science & Enterprise ...
error

Comments are closed.