In this work we describe the use of a micro-scale array of polysilicon doubly clamped beams, based on the approach of embedding microfluidic channels inside the resonators, as an innovative platform for multiplexed biosensors. Finite element methods in COMSOL were employed to simulate the structural mechanical behavior and to know the conditions to determine the frequency response in order to achieve optimal sensitivities and quality factors. Particularly, we studied the effect of microchannel cross-section area, length and sidewall thickness respect to the microchannel dimensions with the objective of injecting solutions of different densities. By integrating additional multiphysics models we analyzed the governing microfluidics, and we estimated that a maximum pressure difference of 7 MPa along the microchannels is required to establish an optimum water flow rate of 0.1 μl/min, which is adequate for biosensor applications. To validate the simulations we compared the thermal noise response of a fabricated array of microbridges in air, and we obtained resonant frequencies between 700 KHz and 1 MHz, in good agreement with our simulated results but with downward frequency shifts due to the undercut effect after fabrication.
Nanomechanical biosensors have emerged as a promising platform for specific biological. Among the advantages are direct detection without need of labelling with fluorescent or radioactive molecules, very high sensitivity, reduced sensor area, and suitability for integration using silicon technology. Here we have studied the immobilization of oligonucleotide monolayers by monitoring the microcantilever bending. Oligonucleotides were derivatized with thiol molecules for self-assembly on the gold-coated side of a microcantilever. The geometry of the binding and the surface density were studied by mixing derivatized oligonucleotides with spacer self-assembled monolayers and by controlling the oligonucleotide functional group form. These results are compared with fluoresencent and chemiluminescence techniques. Furthermore, we present the first results of direct pesticide detection with microcantilever-based biosensors. Herbicide DDT was detected by performing competitive assays, in which the cantilever was coated with a synthetic DDT hapten, and it was exposured to different rations between the monoclonal antibody and the DDT. A new technique is presented for the detection of the nanomechanical response for biosensing applications, in which the resonant frequency is measured with about two orders of magnitude higher sensitivity. The low quality factor of the microcantilever in liquid is increased up by using an active feedback control, in which the cantilever oscillation is amplified and delayed and it is used as a driving force. The technique has been applied for the detection of ethanol, proteins, and pathogens.
Biological and chemical sensing is one of the application fields where integrated optical nanodevices can play an important role . We present a Silicon Integrated Mach-Zehnder Interferometer Nanodevice using a Total Internal Refraction waveguide configuration. The induced changes due to a biomolecular interactions in the effective refractive index of the waveguide,is monitored by the measurement of the change in the properties of the propagating light. For using this device as a biosensor, the waveguides of the structure must verify two conditions: work in the monomode regime and to have a Surface Sensivity as high as possible in the sensing arm. The MZI device structure is: (i) a Si wafer with a 500 mm thickness (ii) a 2 mm thick thermal Silicon-Oxide layer with a refractive index of 1.46 (iii) a LPCVD Silicon Nitride layer of 100 nm thickness and a refractive index of 2.00, which is used as the guiding layer. To achieve monomode behavior is needed to define a rib structure, with a depth of only 3 nm, on the Silicon Nitride layer by a lithographic step. This rib structure is performed by RIE and is the most critical step in the microfabrication of the device. Over the structure a protective layer of LPCVD SiO2 is deposited, with a 2 mm thickness and a refractive index of 1.46, which is patterned (photolithography) and etched (RIE) to define the sensing arm. The high sensivity of these devices makes them quite suitable for biosensing applications. For that, without loosing their activity the receptors biomolecules are covanlently immobilized, at nanometer scale , on the sensor area surface. Biospecific molecular recognition takes places when the complementary analyte to the receptor is flowed over the receptor using a flow system. Several biosensing applications have been performed with this device as enviromental pollutant control, immunosensing or genetic detection.