Microtech2010 2010

Nanomechanical Mass Spectrometry and NEMS VLSI

A. Naik
California Institute of Technology, US

Keywords: NEMS


Mass spectrometry (MS) has become a preeminent methodology of proteomics since it provides rapid and quantitative identification of protein species with relatively low sample consumption. With the current trend towards biological detection and analysis at increasingly smaller scales down to single molecule, MS with few to single molecule resolution would be required. Nanoelectromechanical systems provide mass sensitivities now sufficient to detect individual biomolecules in real time. We demonstrate a complete prototype of NEMS MS capable of detecting individual biomolecules and nanoparticles. Nanoparticles and protein species are injected from the fluid phase in ambient conditions into vacuum using electrospray ionization and subsequently delivered to the NEMS detector by hexapole ion optics. Resonant frequencies of multiple modes of the NEMS are tracked using phase locked loop. Frequency shifts, proportional to the mass, are recorded in real time as individual molecules adsorb onto the NEMS. These first generation mass measurements using NEMS presage the future capabilities of this approach. We outline the substantial improvements and advantages that are feasible in the near term by scaling up the system using VLSI techniques.
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