Integration of microfluidic and cantilever technology for biosensing application in liquid environment

Carlo Ricciardi, Giancarlo Canavese, Riccardo Castagna, Ivan Ferrante, Alessandro Ricci, Simone Luigi Marasso, Lucia Napione, Federico Bussolino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microcantilever based oscillators have shown the possibility of highly sensitive label-free detection by allowing the transduction of a target mass into a resonant frequency shift. Most of such measurements were performed in air or vacuum environment, since immersion in liquid dramatically deteriorates the mechanical response of the sensor. Besides, the integration of microcantilever detection in a microfluidic platform appears a highly performing technological solution to exploit real time monitoring of biomolecular interactions, while limiting sample handling and promoting portability and automation of routine diagnostic tests (Point-Of-Care devices). In the present paper, we report on the realization and optimization of a microcantilever-based Lab-on-Chip, showing that microplates rather than microbeams exhibit largest mass sensitivity in liquid, while pirex rather than polymers represents the best choice for microfluidic channels. Maximum Q factor achieved was 140 (for fifth resonance mode of Pirex prototype), as our knowledge the highest value reported in literature for cantilever biosensors resonating in liquid environment without electronic feedback. Then, we proved the successfully detection of Angiopoietin-1 (a putative marker in tumor progression), showing that the related frequency shifts coming from non-specific interactions (negative controls) are roughly one order of magnitude lower than typical variations due to specific protein binding. Furthermore, we monitored the formation of antibody-antigen complex on MC surface in real-time. The proposed tool could be extremely useful for the comprehension of complex biological systems such as angiogenic machinery and cancer progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1565-1570
Number of pages6
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 15 2010


  • Angiogenesis
  • Lab-on-Chip
  • Microcantilever
  • Protein detection
  • Real-time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Electrochemistry


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