Towards accurate, label–free molecular sensing: a materials science perspective


A/Prof. Francesca Iacopi (Griffith University)
This colloquium will be held 3 pm, 20th May, in Frank White 43-102

Microbeam mechanical resonators have attracted considerable attention for molecular recognition applications. Resonant gravimetric sensing is possibly one of the most accurate techniques for label-free sensing of chemical analytes. Label-free sensing would enable increased sensitivity and miniaturization capabilities for biosensing devices. I will review the main principles and current state of microbeam resonators technology for gravimetric sensing. First, we will go through the operation principles and the mechanical performance: frequency f, losses and quality factor (Q), and the meaning of the fxQ figure of merit. On the basis of these principles, we will approach the material selection for the resonators, and I will focus on our work with epitaxial silicon carbide on silicon. Silicon carbide has outstanding mechanical and biocompatibility properties which make it a promising material for biosensing, although not without its challenges. Its cubic polytype can be grown on silicon wafers, allowing easy micromachining into building blocks for sensing devices, and additionally can be a template for graphene growth. Finally, I will discuss an example of perspective applications in the area of drug screening with high throughput, a project run in collaboration with Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics.

Short bio – Francesca Iacopi, PhD
Assoc.Prof. Francesca Iacopi has nearly 20 years industrial and academic expertise in Materials Science for Semiconductor Technologies, with over 100 peer-reviewed publications and 8 granted patents. Staff Scientist at IMEC (Belgium) over 1999-2009, she took then up a year Guest Professorship at the University of Tokyo (Japan). In 2010-2011 she directed the Chip-Package Interaction strategy for GLOBALFOUNDRIES (Ca, USA), the second largest semiconductor foundry. At Griffith University she leads the Integrated Nanomaterials group, focusing on graphene and other 2D materials on silicon for bio-compatible sensing technologies. She was a 2003 recipient of a Gold Graduate Student Award from the Materials Research Society, a 2012 recipient of a Future Fellowship from the Australian Research Council, and she was awarded a “Global Innovation Award” for “Processes enabling low cost graphene/silicon carbide MEMS” in Washington DC, May 2014. In Oct 2015 she has been appointed to the Advance Queensland Panel of Experts, advisory panel to the Queensland State Government on Science and Innovation.