High-speed multiple-mode mass-sensing resolves dynamic nanoscale mass distributions

Simultaneously measuring multiple eigenmode frequencies of nanomechanical resonators can determine the position and mass of surface-adsorbed proteins, and could ultimately reveal the mass tomography of nanoscale analytes. However, existing measurement techniques are slow (<1 Hz bandwidth), limiting throughput and preventing use with resonators generating fast transient signals. Here we develop a general platform for independently and simultaneously oscillating multiple modes of mechanical resonators, enabling frequency measurements that can precisely track fast transient signals within a user-defined bandwidth that exceeds 500 Hz. We use this enhanced bandwidth to resolve signals from multiple nanoparticles flowing simultaneously through a suspended nanochannel resonator and show that four resonant modes are sufficient for determining their individual position and mass with an accuracy near 150 nm and 40 attograms throughout their 150-ms transit. We envision that our method can be readily extended to other systems to increase bandwidth, number of modes, or number of resonators.

S. Olcum, N. Cermak, S. C. Wasserman, and S. R. Manalis
Nature Communications
Volume: 6
Number: 7070
Date: May, 2015
ICB Affiliated Authors: Scott R Manalis