Photothermal Sensing of Chemical Vapors Using Microcantilevers

  • Thomas Thundat
  • Charles W. Van Neste
  • Larry R. Senesac
  • Adam R. Krause
Part of the Nanostructure Science and Technology book series (NST)


Although microfabricated cantilevers have been used for detecting a variety of chemicals with high sensitivity, their selectivity appears to be poor. This selectivity problem is directly related to the poor selectivity of chemical interfaces immobilized on cantilever surfaces. Here we discuss two cantilever-based techniques that can be used for obtaining orthogonal signals for multimodal operation for enhanced selectivity. The first technique is based on photothermal deflection spectroscopy where selectivity is achieved through a mechanical response due to optical absorption by the adsorbed molecules on a cantilever. In the second technique, the position of the resonance frequency peak of the cantilever is monitored for shifting due to mass loading. This technique allows the precise measurement of the mass of the surface-adsorbed molecules. These two methods are demonstrated for adsorbed explosives.


Thermal Sensitivity Vapor Generator Adsorbed Mass Resonance Frequency Shift Explosive Vapor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported in part by U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Naval Research. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract no. DE-AC05-00OR22725.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Thundat
    • 1
  • Charles W. Van Neste
    • 2
  • Larry R. Senesac
    • 2
  • Adam R. Krause
    • 2
  1. 1.Nanoscale Science and Devices GroupOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  2. 2.Nanoscale Science and Devices GroupOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

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