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A Review of Interface Electronic Systems for AT-cut Quartz Crystal Microbalance Applications in Liquids

Departamento de Ingeniería Electrónica, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Camino de Vera s/n, Valencia 46022, Spain
Sensors 2008, 8(1), 370-411;
Received: 28 December 2007 / Accepted: 16 January 2008 / Published: 21 January 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Piezoelectric Sensors for Determination of Analytes in Solutions)
From the first applications of AT-cut quartz crystals as sensors in solutionsmore than 20 years ago, the so-called quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) sensor isbecoming into a good alternative analytical method in a great deal of applications such asbiosensors, analysis of biomolecular interactions, study of bacterial adhesion at specificinterfaces, pathogen and microorganism detection, study of polymer film-biomolecule orcell-substrate interactions, immunosensors and an extensive use in fluids and polymercharacterization and electrochemical applications among others. The appropriateevaluation of this analytical method requires recognizing the different steps involved andto be conscious of their importance and limitations. The first step involved in a QCMsystem is the accurate and appropriate characterization of the sensor in relation to thespecific application. The use of the piezoelectric sensor in contact with solutions stronglyaffects its behavior and appropriate electronic interfaces must be used for an adequatesensor characterization. Systems based on different principles and techniques have beenimplemented during the last 25 years. The interface selection for the specific application isimportant and its limitations must be known to be conscious of its suitability, and foravoiding the possible error propagation in the interpretation of results. This article presentsa comprehensive overview of the different techniques used for AT-cut quartz crystalmicrobalance in in-solution applications, which are based on the following principles:network or impedance analyzers, decay methods, oscillators and lock-in techniques. Theelectronic interfaces based on oscillators and phase-locked techniques are treated in detail,with the description of different configurations, since these techniques are the most used inapplications for detection of analytes in solutions, and in those where a fast sensorresponse is necessary. View Full-Text
Keywords: QCM; electronic interfaces; oscillators; detection; piezoelectric sensors QCM; electronic interfaces; oscillators; detection; piezoelectric sensors
MDPI and ACS Style

Arnau, A. A Review of Interface Electronic Systems for AT-cut Quartz Crystal Microbalance Applications in Liquids. Sensors 2008, 8, 370-411.

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