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High Sensitivity of Diamond Resonant Microcantilevers for Direct Detection in Liquids As Probed by Molecular Electrostatic Surface Interactions

Abstract : Resonant microcantilevers have demonstrated that they can play an important role in the detection of chemical and biological agents. Molecular interactions with target species on the mechanical microtransducers surface generally induce a change of the beam's bending stiffness, resulting in a shift of the resonance frequency. In most biochemical sensor applications, cantilevers must operate in liquid, even though damping deteriorates the vibrational performances of the transducers. Here we focus on diamond-based microcantilevers since their transducing properties surpass those of other materials. In fact, among a wide range of remarkable features, diamond possesses exceptional mechanical properties enabling the fabrication of cantilever beams with higher resonant frequencies and Q-factors than when made from other conventional materials. Therefore, they appear as one of the top-ranked materials for designing cantilevers operating in liquid media. In this study, we evaluate the resonator sensitivity performances of our diamond microcantilevers using grafted carboxylated alkyl chains as a tool to investigate the subtle changes of surface stiffness as induced by electrostatic interactions. Here, caproic acid was immobilized on the hydrogen-terminated surface of resonant polycrystalline diamond cantilevers using a novel one-step grafting technique that could be also adapted to several other functionalizations. By varying the pH of the solution one could tune the -COO(-)/-COOH ratio of carboxylic acid moieties immobilized on the surface, thus enabling fine variations of the surface stress. We were able to probe the cantilevers resonance frequency evolution and correlate it with the ratio of -COO(-)/-COOH terminations on the functionalized diamond surface and consequently the evolution of the electrostatic potential over the cantilever surface. The approach successfully enabled one to probe variations in cantilevers bending stiffness from several tens to hundreds of millinewtons/meter, thus opening the way for diamond microcantilevers to direct sensing applications in liquids. The evolution of the diamond surface chemistry was also investigated using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 8, 2022 - 2:59:45 PM
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Alexandre Bongrain, Charles Agnès, Lionel Rousseau, Emmanuel Scorsone, Jean-Charles Arnault, et al.. High Sensitivity of Diamond Resonant Microcantilevers for Direct Detection in Liquids As Probed by Molecular Electrostatic Surface Interactions. Langmuir, American Chemical Society, 2011, 27 (19), pp.12226-12234. ⟨10.1021/la2013649⟩. ⟨hal-00740839⟩



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