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Vol. 91, Issue 4, April 2008, pp.1-13

 

 

Bullet

Active Sensing in Ambient Conditions Using an Electrostatically Driven Silicon Microcantilever

 

G. KESKAR*, B. ELLIOTT, M. J. SKOVE, J. GAILLARD, S. M. SERKIZ+,*, and A. M. RAO#

*School of Materials Science and Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634

+Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC 29808

# Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29625
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634

E-mail: arao@clemson.edu

 

 

Received: 21 March 2008   /Accepted: 21 April 2008   /Published: 30 April 2008

 

Abstract: We describe the behavior of a non-functionalized microcantilever sensor which can be used for active sensing of gaseous species under ambient conditions. Our sensing platform measures the changes in the mechanical response (in amplitude and/or phase) of the vibrating cantilever in air at its resonant frequency when exposed to several vapors and gases. We also demonstrate the detection of isotopes of hydrogen (protium and deuterium), the flammable gas methane, and laughing gas (nitrous oxide) based on change in mass in air. The responses of the microcantilever when exposed to puffs of vapors of water, iso-propanol, benzene and n-hexane were correlated with their polarity index, dielectric constant and molecular mass. Thus, we introduce this promising approach for an easy-to-use and highly versatile sensing platform.

 

Keywords: Active sensing, Ambient conditions, Electrostaic detection, Silicon microcantilever

 

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