The Quartz Crystal Microbalance in Soft Matter Research

Part of the series Soft and Biological Matter pp 1-22



  • Diethelm JohannsmannAffiliated withInstitute of Physical Chemistry, Clausthal University of Technology Email author 

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The QCM is an amazingly simple device. It consists of a disk of crystalline quartz. The acoustic resonances of this plate can be excited electrically because crystalline quartz is piezoelectric. The main application of quartz resonators is in time and frequency control. However, the resonance frequency and the resonance bandwidth depend on the resonator’s environment and the plate can therefore be used as a frequency-based sensor. The chapter gives a brief tour through the modeling process, mostly building on the parallel plate and emphasizing the small load approximation (SLA). Models beyond the parallel plate as well as refinements of the SLA are also discussed. The chapter concludes with an overview of applications.