Ultrahigh-Frequency Surface Acoustic Wave Sensors with Giant Mass-Loading Effects on Electrodes

Zhe Chen, Jian Zhou, Hao Tang, Yi Liu, Yiping Shen, Xiaobo Yin, Jiangpo Zheng, Hongshuai Zhang, Jianhui Wu, Xianglong Shi, Yiqing Chen, Richard Fu, Huigao Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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Surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices are widely used for physical, chemical, and biological sensing applications, and their sensing mechanisms are generally based on frequency changes due to mass-loading effects at the acoustic wave propagation area between two interdigitated transducers (IDTs). In this paper, a new sensing mechanism has been proposed based on a significantly enhanced mass-loading effect generated directly on Au IDT electrodes, which enables significantly enhanced sensitivity, compared with that of conventional SAW devices. The fabricated ultrahigh-frequency SAW devices show a significant mass-loading effect on the electrodes. When the Au-electrode thickness increased from 12 to 25 nm, the Rayleigh mode resonant frequency decreased from 7.77 to 5.93 GHz, while that of the higher longitudinal leaky SAW decreased from 11.87 to 9.83 GHz. The corresponding mass sensitivity of 7309 MHz·mm2·μg-1 (Rayleigh mode) is ∼8.9 × 1011 times larger than that of a conventional quartz crystal balance (with a frequency of 5 MHz) and ∼1000 times higher than that of conventional SAW devices (with a frequency of 978 MHz). Trinitrotoluene concentration as low as 4.4 × 10-9 M (mol·L-1) can be detected using the fabricated SAW sensor, proving its giant mass-loading effect and ultrahigh sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1657-1664
Number of pages8
JournalACS Sensors
Issue number6
Early online date19 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2020


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