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Open AccessArticle

Silicon Microcantilever Sensors to Detect the Reversible Conformational Change of a Molecular Switch, Spiropyan

School of Physics & Clinical & Optometric Sciences, Technological University of Dublin, Kevin Street, D08NF82 Dublin, Ireland
Insight Centre for Data Analytics, National Centre for Sensor Research, Dublin City University, 9 Dublin, Ireland
FOCAS Institute, Technological University Dublin, Camden Row, 8 Dublin, Ireland
Analytical Microsystems & Materials for Lab-on-a-Chip Group (AMMa-LOAC), Microfluidics Cluster UPV/EHU, Analytical Chemistry Department, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, 01006 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
Department of Informatics, Bioengineering, Robotics and System Engineering, University of Genova, 16145 Genova, Italy
School of Chemistry & AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, College Green, 2 Dublin, Ireland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2020, 20(3), 854;
Received: 17 December 2019 / Revised: 22 January 2020 / Accepted: 31 January 2020 / Published: 6 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Chemical Sensors)
The high sensitivity of silicon microcantilever sensors has expanded their use in areas ranging from gas sensing to bio-medical applications. Photochromic molecules also represent promising candidates for a large variety of sensing applications. In this work, the operating principles of these two sensing methods are combined in order to detect the reversible conformational change of a molecular switch, spiropyran. Thus, arrays of silicon microcantilever sensors were functionalized with spiropyran on the gold covered side and used as test microcantilevers. The microcantilever deflection response was observed, in five sequential cycles, as the transition from the spiropyran (SP) (CLOSED) to the merocyanine (MC) (OPEN) state and vice-versa when induced by UV and white light LED sources, respectively, proving the reversibility capabilities of this type of sensor. The microcantilever deflection direction was observed to be in one direction when changing to the MC state and in the opposite direction when changing back to the SP state. A tensile stress was induced in the microcantilever when the SP to MC transition took place, while a compressive stress was observed for the reverse transition. These different type of stresses are believed to be related to the spatial conformational changes induced in the photochromic molecule upon photo-isomerisation. View Full-Text
Keywords: microcantilever sensor; spiropyran; molecular switch; self-assembled monolayers microcantilever sensor; spiropyran; molecular switch; self-assembled monolayers
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Grogan, C.; Amarandei, G.; Lawless, S.; Pedreschi, F.; Lyng, F.; Benito-Lopez, F.; Raiteri, R.; Florea, L. Silicon Microcantilever Sensors to Detect the Reversible Conformational Change of a Molecular Switch, Spiropyan. Sensors 2020, 20, 854.

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