Resonant characteristics and sensitivity dependency on the contact surface in QCM-micropillar-based system of coupled resonator sensors

M. A.M. Kashan, V. Kalavally, H. W. Lee, N. Ramakrishnan

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23 Citations (Scopus)


We report the characteristics and sensitivity dependence over the contact surface in coupled resonating sensors (CRSs) made of high aspect ratio resonant micropillars attached to a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM). Through experiments and simulation, we observed that when the pillars of resonant heights were placed in maximum displacement regions the resonance frequency of the QCM increased following the coupled resonance characteristics, as the pillar offered elastic loading to the QCM surface. However, the same pillars when placed in relatively lower displacement regions, in spite of their resonant dimension, offered inertial loading and resulted in a decrease in QCM resonance frequency, as the displacement amplitude was insufficient to couple the vibrations from the QCM to the pillars. Accordingly, we discovered that the coupled resonance characteristics not only depend on the resonant structure dimensions but also on the contact regions in the acoustic device. Further analysis revealed that acoustic pressure at the contact surface also influences the resonance frequency characteristics and sensitivity of the CRS. To demonstrate the significance of the present finding for sensing applications, humidity sensing is considered as the example measurand. When a sensing medium made of resonant SU-8 pillars was placed in a maximum displacement region on a QCM surface, the sensitivity increased by 14 times in comparison to a resonant sensing medium placed in a lower displacement region of a QCM surface.

Original languageEnglish
Article number195303
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2016


  • acoustic sensor
  • high aspect ratio micropillars
  • quartz crystal microbalance
  • system of coupled resonator

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