Spore detection in air and fluid using micro-cantilever sensors

Angelica P. Davila, Amit Gupta, Tom Walter, Demir Akin, Arthur Aronson, Rashid Bashir

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The purpose of this paper is to report on our work to develop a real-time monitoring device by using micro-cantilevers for the mass detection of biological organisms in air and fluid. The biological agent used was Bacillus anthracis Sterne spore. The experiment was conducted using a laser Doppler vibrometer (LDV) to measure the resonant frequency of the thermal noise cantilevers and the corresponding decrease in frequency as a result of the added mass. Moreover, the added mass attributed to the spores was quantified and compared in air and deionized (DI) water. The silicon cantilevers used in this study were of lengths ranging from 25 μm to 50 μm, 200 nm thick and a width of approximately 9 pm. The first part of the experiment consisted of suspending spores onto the cantilevers in fluid, drying the cantilevers, performing measurements in air and extracting the mass of the added spores. The average mass of a spore in air was 367 fg. The second part of the experiment utilized antibody and bovine serum albumin (BSA) physically adsorbed onto the cantilevers in order to fix the spores on the surface during the measurements in deionized water. The extracted mass of a spore in fluid was measured to be an average of 1.85 pg. This study demonstrated the ability to detect biological samples not only in air but also in a liquid environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
Event2005 Materials Research Society Fall Meeting - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: Nov 28 2005Dec 1 2005

Publication series

NameMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0272-9172


Other2005 Materials Research Society Fall Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Spore detection in air and fluid using micro-cantilever sensors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this