Format of Original
Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical
Original Item ID
The use of microcantilevers as (bio)chemical sensors usually involves the application of a chemically sensitive layer. The coated device operates either in a static bending regime or in a dynamic flexural mode. While some of these coated devices may be operated successfully in both the static and the dynamic modes, others may suffer from certain shortcomings depending on the type of coating, the medium of operation and the sensing application. Such shortcomings include lack of selectivity and reversibility of the sensitive coating and a reduced quality factor due to the surrounding medium. In particular, the performance of microcantilevers excited in their standard out-of-plane dynamic mode drastically decreases in viscous liquid media. Moreover, the responses of coated cantilevers operating in the static bending mode are often difficult to interpret. To resolve these performance issues, the following emerging unconventional uses of microcantilevers are reviewed in this paper: (1) dynamic-mode operation without using a sensitive coating, (2) the use of in-plane vibration modes (both flexural and longitudinal) in liquid media, and (3) incorporation of viscoelastic effects in the coatings in the static mode of operation. The advantages and drawbacks of these atypical uses of microcantilevers for chemical sensing in gas and liquid environments are discussed.