Nanomechanical mass spectrometry: the long road to applications

© 2017 EPFL / Marc Sansa

© 2017 EPFL / Marc Sansa

IGM Colloquim - Nanomechanical resonators are on the way to become an attractive instrument for the analysis of high-mass species. Dr. Marc Sansa will present his group's work to overcome two of the major roadblocks for the viability of these sensors: their limit of detection and small capture area.

Nano-electro-mechanical systems (NEMS) have demonstrated record limits of detection in high performance force and mass sensing. These properties make them excellent candidates for mass spectrometry (NEMS-MS) applications, especially for high-mass species which are difficult to analyse with conventional methods. Even though NEMS-MS technology is approaching maturity, some issues still prevent its application as a viable alternative to conventional MS: the limit of detection of current NEMS-MS technologies, and their small capture area. He will explain his group's recent work aimed at addressing these roadblocks.

He recently demonstrated that resonance frequency fluctuations degrade the limit of detection of monocrystalline resonating sensors by several orders of magnitude. Here he will explain this phenomenon in detail, and discuss its broad implications in resonant sensing.

Finally, he will address the small capture area of NEMS sensors, which entails unpractically long analysis times. He will explain how this can be circumvented by employing NEMS arrays, and his group's recent application of these devices in mass spectrometry.


Dr. Marc Sansa obtained a degree in Telecommunications from the UAB (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) in 2008. He then obtained a PhD in Electronics in 2013 from the UAB, working with Prof. Francesc Pérez-Murano in the IMB-CNM (Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona). He is currently a post-doctoral researcher in the Microsystems Laboratory of the CEA / Leti, working on the application of nanomechanical resonators for sensing applications.


Dr. Marc Sansa

Author: IGM Colloquim