Design of Miniaturized, Self-Out-Readable Cantilever Resonator for Highly Sensitive Airborne Nanoparticle Detection
In this paper, a self-out-readable, miniaturized cantilever resonator for highly sensitive airborne nanoparticle (NP) detection is presented. The cantilever, which is operated in the fundamental in-plane resonance mode, is used as a microbalance with femtogram resolution. To achieve a maximum measurement signal of the piezo resistive Wheatstone half-bridge, the geometric parameters of the sensor design were optimized by finite element modelling (FEM). Struts at the sides of the cantilever resonator act as piezo resistors and enable an electrical read-out of the phase information of the cantilever movement whereby they do not contribute to the resonators rest mass. For the optimized design, a resonator mass of 0.93 ng, a resonance frequency of ~440 kHz, and thus a theoretical sensitivity of 4.23 fg/Hz can be achieved. A μ-channel guiding a particle-laden air flow towards the cantilever is integrated into the sensor chip. Electrically charged NPs will be collected by an electrostatic field between the cantilever and a counter-electrode at the edges of the μ-channel. Such μ-channels will also be used to accomplish particle separation for sizeselective NP detection. Throughout, the presented airborne NP sensor is expected to demonstrate significant improvements in the field of handheld, MEMS-based NP monitoring devices.