Microcantilevers are really promising sensitive sensors despite their small surface. In order to increase this surface and consequently their sensitivity, we nanostructured them with copper oxide (CuO) nanorods. The synthesis of the nanostructure consists of the oxidation of a copper layer deposited beforehand on the surface of the sample. The oxidation is performed in an alkaline solution containing a mixture of Na(OH) and (NH4)2S2O8. The synthesis procedure was first optimized on a silicon wafer, then transferred to optical cantilever-based sensors. This transfer requires specific synthesis modifications in order to cover all the cantilever with nanorods. A masking procedure was specially developed and the copper layer deposition was also optimized. These nanostructured cantilevers were engineered in order to detect vapors of organophosphorous chemical warfare agents (CWA). The nanostructured microcantilevers were exposed to various concentration of dimethyl methylphosphonate (DMMP) which is a well-known simulant of sarin (GB). The detection measurements showed that copper oxide is able to detect DMMP via hydrogen interactions. The results showed also that the increase of the microcantilever surface with the nanostructures improves the sensors efficiency. The evolution of the detection performances of the CuO nanostructured cantilevers with the DMMP concentration was also evaluated.
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