Piezoelectric cell growth sensor

Richard C. Ebersole, Robert P. Foss, Michael D. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have developed a reusable piezoelectric sensor that enables rapid characterization of cell viability and response to cell-affecting agents. This is accomplished via a novel polymer transduction principle that involves reaction of a pH-sensitive amphoteric polymer with metabolically generated acid. Subsequent adhesion of the protonated polymer to the transducer surface causes a decrease in the sensor resonant frequency corresponding to the cell metabolic rate. This disclosure provides the first example of a piezoelectric sensor capable of detecting metabolic responses of viable cells. The sensor provides real-time measurement of cell metabolism and division rates, and antibiotic sensitivity. This technology provides the basis for an advanced piezoelectric sensor that does not require immobilized biological receptors and can be miniaturiżed without compromising signal-to-noise factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-454
Number of pages5
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering


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