The sensor technology is based on molecular imprinting and piezoelectric effect that enable real-time and label-free sensing of mass changes and energy dissipation on a surface originated from molecules adsorption, and molecular interactions, with high sensitivity and selectivity. This technology leverages on nanomaterial technology, enabling convenient and cost-effective chemical and biological detection for on-site applications.
Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP) have proven to be robust and stable to identify and measure analytes – the chemical constituents of substances. This sensor technology comprises one or multiple piezoelectric quartz chips, one or multiple flow cells to hold the quartz chips, and an electronic system. Each quartz chip is coated with a thin layer of proprietary molecularly imprinted material, which has complementary molecular cavities that are the same size, shape, and interactions as the template and analyte molecules.
After connecting the flow cell with the electronic system, voltage is applied onto the quartz chip to generate a frequency signal based on the piezoelectric effect, which is then recorded by the acquisition software. When samples containing target analyte molecules are introduced, the target molecules will selectively re-bind to the imprinted cavities on the quartz chip causing mass changes, which changes its frequency signal and energy dissipation. The frequency changes can then be quantitatively correlated to the analyte concentration due to the molecule's absorption, and molecular interactions on the sensor imprinted surface.
The molecularly imprinted piezoelectric quartz sensor can be used in the areas of chemical, biological and medicinal, agriculture, and materials analysis. Some potential applications for research, testing and monitoring include:
The benefits include the following: