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Her Topic of Materials' Days 2010:
Miniaturized mechanical sensors
Small mechanical structures such as diving boards, bridges and lids can be used as sensitive and label free sensors. A biochemical reaction at the surface of the structure can be monitored as a bending, due to a change in surface stress. Minute temperature changes can be registered by exploring the bimorph effect. Furthermore, mass detection can be achieved by resonating the structures and monitor how the resonant frequency changes as a function of the added mass. In order to obtain high sensitivity the structures need to have micrometer and sometimes nanometer dimensions. They are fabricated by cleanroom processing using either silicon or polymer based materials. We will present examples of our recent development in the field including results on the detection of biomolecules, explosives and particles. Also, the possibility of using micrometer sized containers for drug delivery will be discussed.