A suspended membrane nanocalorimeter for ultralow volume bioanalysis

  • Johannessen E
  • Weaver J
  • Cobbold P
 et al. 
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A nanocalorimetric suspended membrane sensor for
pL volumes of aqueous media was fabricated by bulk silicon micromachining
using anisotropic wet etching and photo and electron
beam lithographic techniques. A high-temperature sensitivity
of 125 K and a rapid unfiltered time constant of 12 ms have been
achieved by integrating a miniaturized reaction vessel of 0.7-nL
volume on a 800-nm-thick and 300 300- m2-large silicon nitride
membrane, thermally insulated from the surrounding bulk
silicon. The combination of a ten-junction gold and nickel thermoelectric
sensor with an integrated ultralow noise preamplifier
has enabled the resolution of 15-nW power in a single measurement,
a result confirmed by electrical calibration. The combination
of a high sensitivity and rapid response time is a consequence
of miniaturization. The choice of gold and nickel as sensor material
provided the maximum thermal sensitivity in the context of
ease of fabrication and cost. The nanocalorimetric sensor has the
potential for integration in an ultralow-volume high-density array
format for the characterization of processes in which there is an
exchange of heat.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Electrical calibration
  • Finite-element modeling
  • Nanocalorimeter
  • Suspended membrane
  • Thermopile
  • Ultralow volume

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  • Erik A. Johannessen

  • John M R Weaver

  • Peter H. Cobbold

  • Jon M. Cooper

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