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QCM-D technology as a new platform for real-time monitoring in biology, medicine and engineering

Dr. Paula Braun , Dr. Frank Gehring, 3T analytik GmbH & CO. KG


QCM-D technology is a surface-sensitive technique for real-time monitoring and characterization of (bio)-layers on a surface with regard to adsorption and desorption events, molecular interactions and structural properties. To date, this old-established technique is becoming increasingly important for study of cellular processes both, in nanotechnology and cell biology. Interactions between molecules, cells or cells and their immediate environment are observable at the surface of sensor in the natural unaltered condition. QCM-D thus provides a unique insight into the complex world of biology.

The measuring principle

The sensor which is composed of a quartz oscillator is at the heart of the QCM-D technology. This quartz is excited by an alternating electric voltage to mechanical vibrations. By the deposition of very small particles, proteins, bacteria, viruses or cells on the surface of the sensor this vibration is changed in the resonance frequency and/or amplitude and accordingly in the dissipation. This allows the addition of a billionth of a gram, as well as minute changes in the material properties of deposited layers to be registered. The applications of QCM-D range from the characterization of polymer layers to medical issues including detection of pathogens, autoimmune diseases, protein interactions, cell cultures and the coagulation status.

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