The objective of this research is to develop a highly sensitive and selective liquid-phase, array-based chemical-sensing system of individually functionalized, micromachined resonators vibrating in an in-plane mode. Prismatic cantilevers, hammerheads and trampoline devices will be investigated, with the most promising being selected for detailed design and fabrication. A novel system-level approach will be explored to address the selectivity challenge by utilizing the temperature-dependence of individual polymer-coated sensor elements. This will allow the use of signal transients that are affected by the sorption kinetics of analytes into polymers, thus providing additional information for analyte quantification. The array-based device will be implemented in an integrated fluidics package for ease of operation.
The intellectual merit lies in the development of a liquid-phase, array-based chemical-sensing system having improved discriminatory power. The theoretical models and selective array system approach will ultimately guide the design of more efficient microresonant sensors operating in any environment.
The broader impact stems from the availability of the improved microresonator-based array sensing platform for liquid-phase (bio)chemical sensing and as an educational tool coupling state-of-the-art microfabrication, sensor technology and systems engineering with (bio)chemical and medical applications. The proposed microresonators are ideally suited as an educational tool for graduate and undergraduate students and for K-12 outreach programs. They will also impact sensing system technology through their improved analyte discrimination. Utilizing additional features of coated devices rather than developing new sensing films could be truly transformative, enabling the development of new sensing systems for applications ranging from environmental monitoring to medical diagnosis.