Nanomechanical Cantilever Sensors as a Novel Tool for Real-Time Monitoring and Characterization of Surface Layer Formation

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Nanomechanical cantilevers are small and thin, microfabricated silicon beams. They serve as extremely sensitive mechanical sensors, which transform processes occurring at their surface into a mechanical response. This unique signal transduction principle allows to measure surface stress occurring at the cantilever surface by monitoring the bending of the cantilever (static mode) while at the same time observing changes in the oscillation properties of the cantilever related to changes in mass load on the cantilever (dynamic mode). The suitability of nanomechanical cantilevers for chemical sensing, e.g., the extremely sensitive detection of heavy metals, and as biosensors, e.g., for DNA and protein detection, are well established. Arrays of cantilever sensors can be employed for the parallel detection of multiple molecules of interest. This publication will focus on more recent applications of cantilever sensors in surface and materials sciences using a commercially available cantilever sensor platform. Examples for the real-time monitoring of self-assembled monolayer (SAM) formation, the detection of cholesterol interaction with hydrophobic surface layers and the use of cantilever sensors to study layer-by-layer (LbL) build-up processes in real-time are presented.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2010

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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