Published on Monday December 8, 2008
Dr. Wan Shih, associate professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems; Dr. Wei-Heng Shih, professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering; and Zuyan Shen, Ph.D. '06; have been awarded a patent for their technology "Piezoelectric Cantilever Sensors," Patent No. 7,458,265 issued December 2, 2008.
The patent describes a cantilever with a non-piezoelectric, or piezoelectric tip useful for a variety of sensing applications. For bio-detection, antibodies or other specific receptors of target antigens may be immobilized on the cantilever surface, preferably on the non-piezoelectric tip. For chemical detection, high surface-area selective absorbent materials are coated on the cantilever tip. Binding of the target antigens or analytes to the cantilever surface increases the cantilever mass. The change in the cantilever mass can be accurately quantified by monitoring a resonance frequency shift of the cantilever. The use of a piezoelectric unimorph cantilever allows both electrical actuation and electrical sensing. Incorporating a non-piezoelectric tip enhances the sensitivity of the sensor. In addition, the piezoelectric cantilever can withstand damping in highly viscous liquids and can be used as a viscosity sensor in wide viscosity range.