Miniature silicon electronic biological assay chip and applications for rapid battlefield diagnostics

Brian Cunningham, Robert Regan, Christopher Clapp, Eric Hildebrant, Marc Weinberg, John Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Assessing the medical condition of battlefield personnel requires the development of rapid, portable biological diagnostic assays for a wide variety of antigens and enzymes. Ideally, such an assay would be inexpensive, small, and require no added reagents while maintaining the sensitivity and accuracy of laboratory-based assays. In this work, a microelectromechanical (MEMS) based biological assay sensor is presented which is expected to meet the above requirements. The sensor is a thin silicon membrane resonator (SMR) which registers a decrease in resonant frequency when mass is adsorbed onto its surface. By coating the sensor surface with a monolayer of antibody, for example, we have detected the corresponding antigen with a detection resolution of 0.25 ng/ml in phosphate buffer solution. Micromachining techniques are being used to integrate many (64 elements on the first test chip) identical SMR sensors into a single silicon chip which would be capable of simultaneously performing a wide variety of biomedical assays. The sensors require only a small printed circuit board and 8 V power supply to operate and provide a readout. The presentation will describe the operation of the SMR sensor, the fabrication of the sensor array, and initial test results using commercially available animal immunoglobulins in laboratory-prepared test solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-34
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1999 Battlefield Biomedical Technologies - Orlando, FL, USA
Duration: Apr 6 1999Apr 6 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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