Detection of bacterial cells and antibodies using surface micromachined thin silicon cantilever resonators

Amit Gupta, Demir Akin, Rashid Bashir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes a surface micromachined cantilever beam-based resonator for biological sensing applications. The study used a novel microfabrication technique of merged epitaxial lateral overgrowth (MELO) and chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) to fabricate thin, low stress, single-crystal silicon cantilever beams. The vibration spectra of the cantilever beams, excited by thermal and ambient noise, was measured in air using a Dimension 3100 Series scanning probe microscope (SPM), and in certain cases, a Polytec MSV300 laser Doppler vibrometer. The sensors were used to detect the mass of Listeria innocua bacteria by applying increasing concentration of bacteria suspension on the same cantilever beams and measuring the resonant frequency changes in air. Cantilever beams were also used to detect the mass of proteins such as Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) and antibodies for Listeria that were attached to the cantilever's surfaces by physical adsorption; following which they were used to capture and detect the mass of the bacterial cells on the functionalized cantilever beam surfaces'. The effects of critical point drying of the proteins were evaluated and the results indicate that the functionality of the antibodies was not reduced once rehydrated after critical point drying. The developed biosensor is capable of rapid and ultrasensitive detection of bacteria and promises significant potential for the enhancement of microbiological research and diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2785-2791
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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