Sub-ppm detection of vapors using piezoresistive microcantilever array sensors

Genki Yoshikawa, Hans Peter Lang, Terunobu Akiyama, Laure Aeschimann, Urs Staufer, Peter Vettiger, Masakazu Aono, Toshio Sakurai, Christoph Gerber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


The performance of microfabricated piezoresistive cantilever array sensors has been evaluated using various vapors of volatile organic compounds including alkanes with different chain length from 5 (n-pentane) to 14 (n-tetradecane). We demonstrate that piezoresistive microcantilever array sensors have the selectivity of discriminating individual alkanes in a homologous series as well as common volatile organic compounds according to principal component analysis. We developed a new method to evaluate the sensitivity, taking advantage of the low vapor pressures of alkanes with longer chains, such as n-dodecane, n-tridecane and n-tetradecane, under saturated vapor conditions. This method reveals sub-ppm sensitivity and the cantilever response is found to follow the mass of evaporated analytes as calculated using a quantitative model based on the Langmuir evaporation model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number015501
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jan 7
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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