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|Title:||Polymer nanocomposite nanomechanical cantilever sensors: material characterization, device development and application in explosive vapour detection|
|Publisher:||IOP PUBLISHING LTD|
|Abstract:||This paper reports an optimized and highly sensitive piezoresistive SU-8 nanocomposite microcantilever sensor and its application for detection of explosives in vapour phase. The optimization has been in improving its electrical, mechanical and transduction characteristics. We have achieved a better dispersion of carbon black (CB) in the SU-8/CB nanocomposite piezoresistor and arrived at an optimal range of 8-9 vol% CB concentration by performing a systematic mechanical and electrical characterization of polymer nanocomposites. Mechanical characterization of SU-8/CB nanocomposite thin films was performed using the nanoindentation technique with an appropriate substrate effect analysis. Piezoresistive microcantilevers having an optimum carbon black concentration were fabricated using a design aimed at surface stress measurements with reduced fabrication process complexity. The optimal range of 8-9 vol% CB concentration has resulted in an improved sensitivity, low device variability and low noise level. The resonant frequency and spring constant of the microcantilever were found to be 22 kHz and 0.4 N m(-1) respectively. The devices exhibited a surface stress sensitivity of 7.6 ppm (mN m(-1))(-1) and the noise characterization results support their suitability for biochemical sensing applications. This paper also reports the ability of the sensor in detecting TNT vapour concentration down to less than six parts per billion with a sensitivity of 1 mV/ppb.|
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