1 Department of Micro- and Nanotechnology, Technical University of Denmark2 DTU Danchip, Technical University of Denmark3 Center for Intelligent Drug Delivery and Sensing Using Microcontainers and Nanomechanics, Center, Technical University of Denmark
In the environmental monitoring eld there is a vast variety of possible applications for microfabricated MEMS sensors. As an example, a network of miniaturized sensors could detect toxic gases, harmful airbornes, explosives in air or, in liquid, monitor the quality of drinking water. The integration of miniaturized MEMS mass sensors into lab on chip systems will lead to point of care systems designed to be inexpensive, portable, and eld-ready with high sensitivity and specicity. One of the most common techniques to transduce the interaction between the sensor and the target chemical species is by monitoring the target mass, that is continuously deposited or removed from the sensor's surface, while the sensor's structure vibrates in resonance. This thesis presents the development of MEMS mass sensors based on mechanical microresonators in the very high frequency range 12-132 MHz. This devices can be operated in gaseous environments thanks to the high Qfactors and show very high mass sensitivities and very small mass resolutions. The resonators have been microfabricated at the DTU-Danchip facility exploiting the microfabrication knowledge already present in the DyNEMS group. The devices have been characterized in terms of electrical properties and mass sensing performance. Chemical and biological mass sensing experiments have been performed in order to investigate the behavior of these devices in dierent environments. The microresonators have been used to detect copper ions in drinking water and as temperature sensors in humid environment. Moreover, they have been used as tool to investigate the interaction between water molecules and DNA. Finally, nanograss have been etched into the body of the microresonators in order to improve the mass sensitivy of the devices. On the whole, the experimental results demonstrate that new and highly sensitive mass sensing systems, based on the MEMS microresonators presented in this thesis, could be developed.