Calibration Device and method for Microcantilever Sensors

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University: University of St Andrews

Sector(s): Other, Chemical, Electronics, Sensors & Photonics, Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, Life Sciences, Materials

About Opportunity:

This non-destructive, fast and reliable calibration device and method can determine the spring constants of all flexural and torsional modes of vibrating microcantilevers thus obtaining better and more accurate measurement data.  Existing cantilever calibration techniques cannot calibrate the higher flexural and torsional modes easily. Interpretation of data obtained by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and other techniques employing microcantilievers as probes or sensors requires knowledge of the cantilever spring constants.  Current calibration techniques all have certain difficulties and disadvantages: some of them are destructive or risk damaging the cantilever in the calibration process.  Others rely on a requirement for accurate knowledge of the canitliever thickness, its mass, density, or elastic modulus.  Chemically modified cantilevers or cantilever sensor systems for biomedical research, require a simple yet reliable calibration method which can be performed in-situ and which does not bear the risk of affecting the qualilty of the modified cantilever.  Our new method for determining the spring constants of the various flexural and torsional modes does not require the calibration of the cantilever deflection nor actual contact with the cantilever as is the case with most other calibration methods.  Determination of the spring contstants can be done simply and easily.  Recalibrating a modified cantilever can be done 'on the fly' thus saving time and money since un-calibrated modified cantilevers can be analysed in the laboratory.

Key Benefits:

  • This non-destructive, simple and easy-to-use device and method will be extremely helpful to all users of microcantilevers (AFM, microfluidics, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), lab-on-a-chip technologies etc) requiring the calibration of the spring constants in any measurement.


  • Additionally the device can be operated as a velocity sensor and used to determine the local speed of fluids in microfluidic systems.

IP Status:

The novel technology is covred by patent grants in the USA, Canada and Europe (see US 8,371,184) and a newer patent application PCT/GB2013/052167.

St Andrews University would be happy to discuss this technology transfer opportunity with new or established companies with synergistic business interests.


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