A promising approach for detecting biomolecules follows their binding to immobilized probe molecules on microfabricated cantilevers; binding causes surface stresses that bend the cantilever. We measured this deflection, which is on the order of tens of nanometers, by embedding a metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) into the base of the cantilever and recording decreases in drain current with deflections as small as 5 nanometers. The gate region of the MOSFET responds to surface stresses and thus is embedded in silicon nitride so as to avoid direct contact with the sample solution. This approach, which offers low noise, high sensitivity, and direct readout, was used to detect specific binding events with biotin and antibodies.
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