Research objectives and content
The aim of the project is to develop a new miniaturised device capable to measure small changes of surface stress. To achieve this we plan to build a chemical- or bio-sensor based on the bending plate technique. We will use commercially available microfabricated cantilevers, usually used in Atomic Force Microscopy, coat them on one side with gold and functionalized monolayers and monitor their deflection and resonant frequency while replacing the medium surrounding them. Experimental work using the head of a commercial Atomic Force Microscope to monitor the cantilever deflection, design of a new miniaturised cell and deflection detection system, and theoretical work to calculate, with computer simulations, how changes in surface stress are related to changes in surface energy for solids, will be carried out.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
Biochemical sensors development is a highly interdisciplinary research area. The training objective of the proposed research is therefore to increase, in a highly qualified environment, my experience in the related fields of physical chemistry of surfaces, polymer science and rheology of polyelectrlyte solutions. Moreover I would be directly involved in microfabrication design and processes.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
The group of professor Butt has already strong collaborations with the Institut f|r Mikrotechnik Mainz. Together with the latter new cantilever designs optimised for the use as sensors will be tested. The Scanning Probe Microscopy market could benefit of new piezoresistive cantilevers operated in liquid environment.