Articles | Volume 4, issue 1
Regular research article
07 Apr 2015
Regular research article |  | 07 Apr 2015

Modelling of the response of acoustic piezoelectric resonators in biosensor applications – Part 1: The general theoretical analysis

M. V. Voinova

Abstract. Acoustic piezoelectric resonators are widely used as precise analytical chemistry tools for the real-time monitoring of a negligibly small amount of surface-attached mass of biological components, in particular, in environmental biosensor measurements. The surface acoustic wave (SAW)-based sensors and the quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) compared in our work belong to the leading group due to their considerable advantages. These piezoelectric resonators are considered now as high-resolution analytical tools allowing researchers to discriminate between components due to the selective polymer coating on the resonator surface. The gravimetrical measurements performed with the SAW-based or QCM sensors provide the experimental data with high precision for the detection of surface mass for the thin adsorbed layer rigidly attached to the oscillator surface. The new challenge is the analysis of soft and biological materials, where the viscous losses of energy can essentially influence measured characteristics. Modelling is the important part of the analysis allowing researchers to quantify the results of the experiments. The present work provides a general theory of SH-SAW devices probing soft and biological materials. The results are compared with QCM-D operated in liquid media.

Short summary
This paper represents a theoretical modelling of the dynamics of surface acoustic waves with horizontal polarization propagating in the layered system of viscoelastic film covered with a bulk liquid. Theoretically predicted "missing mass" effect is important for the correct interpretation of the experimental data. The results of the theory may be used for the quantitative analysis of SAW-based sensors operated in liquid environments and biosensors.