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Studying adsorbent dynamics on a quartz crystal resonator using its nonlinear electrical response

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journal contribution
posted on 09.09.2014, 14:02 by Sourav GhoshSourav Ghosh, Victor P. Ostanin, Ashwin A. Seshia
The quartz crystal resonator has been traditionally employed in studying surface-confined physisorbed films and particles by measuring dissipation and frequency shifts. However, theoretical interpretation of the experimental observations is often challenged due to limited understanding of physical interaction mechanisms at the interfaces involved. Here we model a physisorbed interaction between particles and gold electrode surface of a quartz crystal and demonstrate how the nonlinear modulation of the electric response of the crystal due to the nonlinear interaction forces may be used to study the dynamics of the particles. In particular, we show that the graphs of the deviation in the third Fourier harmonic response versus oscillation amplitude provide important information about the onset, progress and nature of sliding of the particles. The graphs also present a signature of the surface-particle interaction and could be used to estimate the interaction energy profile. Interestingly, the insights gained from the model help to explain some of the experimental observations with physisorbed streptavidin-coated polystyrene microbeads on quartz resonators. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


The authors of this paper sincerely acknowledge the following funding agencies that funded the project in part: the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Cambridge Trusts.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Sensors and Actuators, B: Chemical




577 - 584


GHOSH, S.K., OSTANIN, V.P. and SESHIA, A.A., 2013. Studying adsorbent dynamics on a quartz crystal resonator using its nonlinear electrical response. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 176, pp. 577 - 584


© Elsevier


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

Publication date



This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 176, 2013, DOI: 10.1016/j.snb.2012.10.024





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