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Methods. 2013 Oct;63(3):225-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2013.07.009. Epub 2013 Jul 20.

Microcantilever based disposable viscosity sensor for serum and blood plasma measurements.

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Koc University, Mechanical Engineering, Rumeli Feneri Yolu, 34450 Sariyer, Istanbul, Turkey. Electronic address:


This paper proposes a novel method for measuring blood plasma and serum viscosity with a microcantilever-based MEMS sensor. MEMS cantilevers are made of electroplated nickel and actuated remotely with magnetic field using an electro-coil. Real-time monitoring of cantilever resonant frequency is performed remotely using diffraction gratings fabricated at the tip of the dynamic cantilevers. Only few nanometer cantilever deflection is sufficient due to interferometric sensitivity of the readout. The resonant frequency of the cantilever is tracked with a phase lock loop (PLL) control circuit. The viscosities of liquid samples are obtained through the measurement of the cantilever's frequency change with respect to a reference measurement taken within a liquid of known viscosity. We performed measurements with glycerol solutions at different temperatures and validated the repeatability of the system by comparing with a reference commercial viscometer. Experimental results are compared with the theoretical predictions based on Sader's theory and agreed reasonably well. Afterwards viscosities of different Fetal Bovine Serum and Bovine Serum Albumin mixtures are measured both at 23°C and 37°C, body temperature. Finally the viscosities of human blood plasma samples taken from healthy donors are measured. The proposed method is capable of measuring viscosities from 0.86 cP to 3.02 cP, which covers human blood plasma viscosity range, with a resolution better than 0.04 cP. The sample volume requirement is less than 150 μl and can be reduced significantly with optimized cartridge design. Both the actuation and sensing are carried out remotely, which allows for disposable sensor cartridges.


Blood; Blood Plasma; Cantilever; MEMS; Magnetic actuation; Microcantilever; Serum; Viscosity

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