Microfabricated cantilevers are a versatile platform for real-time in situ measurements of the physical, chemical, and biochemical properties of physiological fluids such as gas, liquid, and biological samples. The primary advantages of these microcantilevers are that they have a very high sensitivity because of their ability to detect cantilever motion with subnanomolar resolution. As a result of cantilever design engineering and functionalisation, they also have the capability of physical, chemical, and biological sensing. Another unique advantage of cantilever sensors is that the deformation and shift in resonance frequency that occur simultaneously during the analysis provide complementary information about the interactions between the cantilever and the environment.
Although cantilever sensors have numerous advantages in practical use, they have several problems that should be solved before they can be popularised and commercialised. Functionalisation of the cantilevers is very important in the development of the technique. In particular, the markers that recognise specific analytes should be separately immobilised on individual cantilevers. This immobilisation can enable multiple sensing of numerous chemicals and biomarkers related to environmental pollutants, as well as infectious or genetic diseases. Another requirement for the commercial use of cantilever sensors is that they should have a platform for a multiarray system in which individual cantilever transducers are arranged into a chip integrated with on-chip electronic circuitry. Moreover, for point-of-care application, the microfabricated microfluidic chip has to be combined with the multicantilever array chip for sample preparation of whole blood or serum. Accordingly, the integration of individual cantilevers into a biochip and the microfluidic interface are a promising research area, and further development of the cantilever array biosensor will provide real-time monitoring of multiple biomarkers. According to the literature, the interest of researchers in cantilever sensors is currently shifting from the individual cantilever sensor to the multiple cantilever array chip integrated with a microfluidic chip, cantilevers, and electronic circuitry.
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