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qCell T auto - a fully automated QCM-D platform for surface interaction analysis

Dr. Adam L.J. Olsson, Dr. Paula Braun , Jin Zhang, 3T analytik GmbH & CO. KG


This study introduces the qCell T auto as a reliable and efficient tool for effortless long-time measurements that otherwise would have required the full hands-on attention of trained personnel. It carries all essential features of advanced Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) technology. In addition it is equipped with superior fluidic and sample control, electronic log filing, sensor serial numbers combined with an in-built data base paving its way towards becoming a standardized method. More specifically, 3T analytik monitored the gradual build-up of two types of polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs). The combined measurement of frequency and dissi-pation/damping provided important information on the viscoelastic properties of the various PEMs as well as the film thickness.

What is QCM-D and what can it do?

Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) is a surface-sensitive technique that is applied to detect adsorption of a material to an oscillating quartz sensor. The adsorption process is detected by means of monitoring changes in the sonsor's vibra-tional behaviour in real time. It can be imple-mented for studies of basically any surface adsorption phenomena including, but not limited to, molecular adsorption, bacterial adhesion or nanoparticle deposition, with new applications still being discovered. Negative shifts in the resonance frequency of the quartz sensor (Δf) is related to the amount of adsorbed mass with a sensitivity of about a billionth of a gram. The energy required to maintain constant vibrational amplitude is affected by dissipative energy losses induced by the adsorbed mass, also known as damping (half-bandwidth of the oscillation peak, ΔΓ). Both parameters are utilized to characterize the adsorbed material.

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