Bounds in the sensitivity of BioMEMS devices for cell detection

Kaustubh D. Bhalerao, Steven C. Mwenifumbo, Alfred B.O. Soboyejo, Winston O. Soboyejo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents an ongoing effort to characterize performance and reliability of micro electromechanical systems used for biomedical diagnostics (BioMEMS). In order to study the interactions of human osteosarcoma (HOS) cells with BioMEMS devices, cultures were performed on silicon (Si) surfaces as well as silicon surfaces coated with 50 nm of titanium (Ti). Cell spreading on the surfaces was observed over time for up to 2 hours. It was seen that titanium coated silicon surfaces have the potential to provide a better interface for BioMEMS devices, due to enhanced adherence and spreading of the cells on these surfaces. Atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilevers were used as cell detection sensors. These cantilevers were coated with 50 nm of titanium metal to provide a cell friendly surface. Theoretical models were then developed for the prediction of the vibrational responses of the AFM cantilevers before and after cell attachment. The models were used to relate the experimentally observed changes in frequency to the number of cells that are attached on the cantilever. The bounds in the possible frequency changes were determined within a theoretical framework. From experimentally calculated values for the mass of cells, random number simulations were carried out to determine the probability of cell attachment as a function of the change in resonance frequency of the cantilever sensor. The implications of the results are then discussed for the future reliability modeling of the sensor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalBiomedical microdevices
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • AFM cantilevers
  • Bounds
  • Cell detection
  • Reliability
  • Sensitivity
  • Sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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