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Special Issue "Nanomechanical Sensors"

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A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Biosensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Stephane Evoy (Website)

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta, AB T6G 2V4, Edmonton, Canada
Fax: +1 780 492 1811
Interests: nanomechanical and piezoelectric devices for biosensing applications; bacteriophage-based platforms for detection of bacteria

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Micro- and nanomechanical systems are of interest from both fundamental and technological standpoints. The understanding and control of composition, nanostructure, and interface properties is important for the development of nanostructured materials. Furthermore, mechanical resonators and static cantilever have been demonstrated to be highly promising platforms for the detection of small forces and target analytes. Mesoscopic dimensions and high-frequency operation also open up fascinating possibilities for sensitive studies of extrinsic processes such as surface and near-surface effects, and of other fundamental phenomena such as coupling with lattice vibrations and interaction with electromagnetic fields. This special issue will cover all topics relevant to the science, technology and applications of nanomechanical systems. Topics of interest include, but not limited to, modeling of nanomechanical and resonant behavior, materials development and fabrication techniques, novel transduction approaches, understanding and applications of nanooptomechanical, nanoelectromechanical and nanomagnetomechanical phenomena, as well as applications to sensing platforms operating in both the static and resonant regime.

Dr. Stephane Evoy
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs).


Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle First-Principles Surface Stress Calculations and Multiscale Deformation Analysis of a Self-Assembled Monolayer Adsorbed on a Micro-Cantilever
Sensors 2014, 14(4), 7435-7450; doi:10.3390/s140407435
Received: 29 September 2013 / Revised: 26 February 2014 / Accepted: 18 April 2014 / Published: 23 April 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1343 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Micro-cantilever sensors are widely used to detect biomolecules, chemical gases, and ionic species. However, the theoretical descriptions and predictive modeling of these devices are not well developed, and lag behind advances in fabrication and applications. In this paper, we present a novel [...] Read more.
Micro-cantilever sensors are widely used to detect biomolecules, chemical gases, and ionic species. However, the theoretical descriptions and predictive modeling of these devices are not well developed, and lag behind advances in fabrication and applications. In this paper, we present a novel multiscale simulation framework for nanomechanical sensors. This framework, combining density functional theory (DFT) calculations and finite element method (FEM) analysis, is capable of analyzing molecular adsorption-induced deformation and stress fields in the sensors from the molecular scale to the device scale. Adsorption of alkanethiolate self-assembled monolayer (SAM) on the Au(111) surface of the micro-cantilever sensor is studied in detail to demonstrate the applicability of this framework. DFT calculations are employed to investigate the molecular adsorption-induced surface stress upon the gold surface. The 3D shell elements with initial stresses obtained from the DFT calculations serve as SAM domains in the adsorption layer, while FEM is employed to analyze the deformation and stress of the sensor devices. We find that the micro-cantilever tip deflection has a linear relationship with the coverage of the SAM domains. With full coverage, the tip deflection decreases as the molecular chain length increases. The multiscale simulation framework provides a quantitative analysis of the displacement and stress fields, and can be used to predict the response of nanomechanical sensors subjected to complex molecular adsorption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomechanical Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle Integrated Cantilever-Based Flow Sensors with Tunable Sensitivity for In-Line Monitoring of Flow Fluctuations in Microfluidic Systems
Sensors 2014, 14(1), 229-244; doi:10.3390/s140100229
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 12 December 2013 / Accepted: 18 December 2013 / Published: 23 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1079 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
For devices such as bio-/chemical sensors in microfluidic systems, flow fluctuations result in noise in the sensor output. Here, we demonstrate in-line monitoring of flow fluctuations with a cantilever-like sensor integrated in a microfluidic channel. The cantilevers are fabricated in different materials [...] Read more.
For devices such as bio-/chemical sensors in microfluidic systems, flow fluctuations result in noise in the sensor output. Here, we demonstrate in-line monitoring of flow fluctuations with a cantilever-like sensor integrated in a microfluidic channel. The cantilevers are fabricated in different materials (SU-8 and SiN) and with different thicknesses. The integration of arrays of holes with different hole size and number of holes allows the modification of device sensitivity, theoretical detection limit and measurement range. For an average flow in the microliter range, the cantilever deflection is directly proportional to the flow rate fluctuations in the microfluidic channel. The SiN cantilevers show a detection limit below 1 nL/min and the thinnest SU-8 cantilevers a detection limit below 5 nL/min. Finally, the sensor is applied for in-line monitoring of flow fluctuations generated by external pumps connected to the microfluidic system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomechanical Sensors)
Open AccessArticle A Novel Comb Architecture for Enhancing the Sensitivity of Bulk Mode Gyroscopes
Sensors 2013, 13(12), 16641-16656; doi:10.3390/s131216641
Received: 20 October 2013 / Revised: 27 November 2013 / Accepted: 3 December 2013 / Published: 4 December 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1021 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This work introduces a novel architecture for increasing the sensitivity of bulk mode gyroscopes. It is based on adding parallel plate comb drives to the points of maximum vibration amplitude, and tuning the stiffness of the combs. This increases the drive strength [...] Read more.
This work introduces a novel architecture for increasing the sensitivity of bulk mode gyroscopes. It is based on adding parallel plate comb drives to the points of maximum vibration amplitude, and tuning the stiffness of the combs. This increases the drive strength and results in a significant sensitivity improvement. The architecture is targeted for technologies with ~100 nm transducer gaps in order to achieve very high performance devices. In this work, this sensitivity enhancement concept was implemented in SOIMUMPs, a commercial relatively large gap technology. Prototypes were measured to operate at frequencies of ~1.5 MHz, with quality factors of ~33,000, at a 10 mTorr vacuum level. Measurements using discrete electronics show a rate sensitivity of 0.31 μV/°/s, corresponding to a capacitance sensitivity of 0.43 aF/°/s/electrode, two orders of magnitude higher than a similar design without combs, fabricated in the same technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomechanical Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle Heater-Integrated Cantilevers for Nano-Samples Thermogravimetric Analysis
Sensors 2013, 13(12), 16657-16671; doi:10.3390/s131216657
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 28 November 2013 / Accepted: 28 November 2013 / Published: 4 December 2013
PDF Full-text (555 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The design and characteristics of a micro-system for thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) in which heater, temperature sensor and mass sensor are integrated into a single device are presented. The system consists of a suspended cantilever that incorporates a microfabricated resistor, used as both [...] Read more.
The design and characteristics of a micro-system for thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) in which heater, temperature sensor and mass sensor are integrated into a single device are presented. The system consists of a suspended cantilever that incorporates a microfabricated resistor, used as both heater and thermometer. A three-dimensional finite element analysis was used to define the structure parameters. TGA sensors were fabricated by standard microlithographic techniques and tested using milli-Q water and polyurethane microcapsule. The results demonstrated that our approach provides a faster and more sensitive TGA with respect to commercial systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomechanical Sensors)
Open AccessArticle A Silicon Nanomembrane Detector for Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) of Large Proteins
Sensors 2013, 13(10), 13708-13716; doi:10.3390/s131013708
Received: 8 August 2013 / Revised: 22 September 2013 / Accepted: 8 October 2013 / Published: 11 October 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (474 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We describe a MALDI-TOF ion detector based on freestanding silicon nanomembrane technology. The detector is tested in a commercial MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer with equimolar mixtures of proteins. The operating principle of the nanomembrane detector is based on phonon-assisted field emission from these [...] Read more.
We describe a MALDI-TOF ion detector based on freestanding silicon nanomembrane technology. The detector is tested in a commercial MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer with equimolar mixtures of proteins. The operating principle of the nanomembrane detector is based on phonon-assisted field emission from these silicon nanomembranes, in which impinging ion packets excite electrons in the nanomembrane to higher energy states. Thereby the electrons can overcome the vacuum barrier and escape from the surface of the nanomembrane via field emission. Ion detection is demonstrated of apomyoglobin (16,952 Da), aldolase (39,212 Da), bovine serum albumin (66,430 Da), and their equimolar mixtures. In addition to the three intact ions, a large number of fragment ions are also revealed by the silicon nanomembrane detector, which are not observable with conventional detectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomechanical Sensors)
Open AccessArticle Determination of the Elastic Properties of Tomato Fruit Cells with an Atomic Force Microscope
Sensors 2013, 13(9), 12175-12191; doi:10.3390/s130912175
Received: 9 July 2013 / Revised: 23 August 2013 / Accepted: 5 September 2013 / Published: 11 September 2013
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (1054 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the mechanical properties of single cells together with the intercellular adhesive properties determine the macro-mechanical properties of plants, a method for evaluation of the cell elastic properties is needed to help explanation of the behavior of fruits and vegetables in handling [...] Read more.
Since the mechanical properties of single cells together with the intercellular adhesive properties determine the macro-mechanical properties of plants, a method for evaluation of the cell elastic properties is needed to help explanation of the behavior of fruits and vegetables in handling and food processing. For this purpose, indentation of tomato mesocarp cells with an atomic force microscope was used. The Young’s modulus of a cell using the Hertz and Sneddon models, and stiffness were calculated from force-indentation curves. Use of two probes of distinct radius of curvature (20 nm and 10,000 nm) showed that the measured elastic properties were significantly affected by tip geometry. The Young’s modulus was about 100 kPa ± 35 kPa and 20 kPa ± 14 kPa for the sharper tip and a bead tip, respectively. Moreover, large variability regarding elastic properties (>100%) among cells sampled from the same region in the fruit was observed. We showed that AFM provides the possibility of combining nano-mechanical properties with topography imaging, which could be very useful for the study of structure-related properties of fruits and vegetables at the cellular and sub-cellular scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomechanical Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle Improved Adhesion of Gold Thin Films Evaporated on Polymer Resin: Applications for Sensing Surfaces and MEMS
Sensors 2013, 13(6), 7021-7032; doi:10.3390/s130607021
Received: 11 April 2013 / Revised: 25 April 2013 / Accepted: 13 May 2013 / Published: 28 May 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (573 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
We present and analyze a method to improve the morphology and mechanical properties of gold thin films for use in optical sensors or other settings where good adhesion of gold to a substrate is of importance and where controlled topography/roughness is key. [...] Read more.
We present and analyze a method to improve the morphology and mechanical properties of gold thin films for use in optical sensors or other settings where good adhesion of gold to a substrate is of importance and where controlled topography/roughness is key. To improve the adhesion of thermally evaporated gold thin films, we introduce a gold deposition step on SU-8 photoresist prior to UV exposure but after the pre-bake step of SU-8 processing. Shrinkage and distribution of residual stresses, which occur during cross-linking of the SU-8 polymer layer in the post-exposure baking step, are responsible for the higher adhesion of the top gold film to the post-deposition cured SU-8 sublayer. The SU-8 underlayer can also be used to tune the resulting gold film morphology. Our promoter-free protocol is easily integrated with existing sensor microfabrication processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomechanical Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle High S/N Ratio Slotted Step Piezoresistive Microcantilever Designs for Biosensors
Sensors 2013, 13(4), 4088-4101; doi:10.3390/s130404088
Received: 1 February 2013 / Revised: 1 March 2013 / Accepted: 22 March 2013 / Published: 26 March 2013
PDF Full-text (902 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study proposes new microcantilever designs in slotted step configuration to improve the S/N ratio of surface stress-based sensors used in physical, chemical, biochemical and biosensor applications. The cantilevers are made of silicon dioxide with a u-shaped silicon piezoresistor in p-doped. The [...] Read more.
This study proposes new microcantilever designs in slotted step configuration to improve the S/N ratio of surface stress-based sensors used in physical, chemical, biochemical and biosensor applications. The cantilevers are made of silicon dioxide with a u-shaped silicon piezoresistor in p-doped. The cantilever step length and piezoresistor length is varied along with the operating voltage to characterise the surface stress sensitivity and thermal drifting sensitivity of the cantilevers when used as immunosensor. The numerical analysis is performed using ANSYS Multiphysics. Results show the surface stress sensitivity and the S/N ratio of the slotted step cantilevers is improved by more than 32% and 22%, respectively, over its monolithic counterparts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomechanical Sensors)
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