Development of AlN thin films for breast cancer acoustic biosensors

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Although the development of biosensors has become popular in the recent past, there are still many opportunities to develop specific designs that address public health problems of third world countries. This paper presents the initial efforts toward the development of an affordable acoustic biosensor for breast cancer detection. The core of the sensor consists of a piezoelectric AlN thin film that requires specific crystallographic and morphological features. In this study, the processing-structure relationship of our radio-frequency magnetron sputtering (r.f. MS) system was established. Al/AlN films were produced via r.f. MS varying the applied power and atmosphere composition. The films were analyzed by glancing angle X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy + energy dispersive analysis, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. The results indicate that applied power had a much stronger influence on the phase selection, orientation and morphology of the films and was attributed to the effect of power on ad-atom mobility on the substrate. Higher power values resulted in films better suited for biosensor applications. The presence of the Al adhesion layer favored the formation of undesirable metastable c-AlN. Preliminary results on the biofunctionalization of the films were encouraging, but require further work both in the protocol and on the effect of the film surface on this process.




Murillo, A. E., Melo-Máximo, L., García-Farrera, B., Salas Martínez, O., Melo-Máximo, D. V., Oliva-Ramírez, J., … Oseguera, J. (2018, January 1). Development of AlN thin films for breast cancer acoustic biosensors. Journal of Materials Research and Technology. Elsevier Editora Ltda.

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