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Journal Article

Vacuum-packaged suspended microchannel resonant mass sensor for biomolecular detection.


Burg,  T. P.
Research Group of Biological Micro- and Nanotechnology, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Burg, T. P., Mirza, A. R., Milovic, N., Tsau, C. H., Popescu, G. A., Foster, J. S., et al. (2006). Vacuum-packaged suspended microchannel resonant mass sensor for biomolecular detection. Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, 16(6), 1466-1476. doi:10.1109/JMEMS.2006.883568.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-9C90-D
There is a great need in experimental biology for tools to study interactions between biological molecules and to profile expression levels of large numbers of proteins. This paper describes the fabrication, packaging and testing of a resonant mass sensor for the detection of biomolecules in a microfluidic format. The transducer employs a suspended microchannel as the resonating element, thereby avoiding the problems of damping and viscous drag that normally degrade the sensitivity of resonant sensors in liquid. Our device differs from a vibrating tube densitometer in that the channel is very thin, which enables the detection of molecules that bind to the channel walls; this provides a path to specificity via molecular recognition by immobilized receptors. The fabrication is based on a sacrificial polysilicon process with low-stress low-pressure chemical-vapor deposited (LPCVD) silicon nitride as the structural material, and the resonator is vacuum packaged on the wafer scale using glass frit bonding. Packaged resonators exhibit a sensitivity of 0.8 ppm/(ngmiddotcm2) and a mechanical quality factor of up to 700. To the best of our knowledge, this quality factor is among the highest so far reported for resonant sensors with comparable surface mass sensitivity in liquid