A method and device are provided for chemical sensing using cantilevers that do not use chemically deposited, chemically specific layers. This novel device utilizes the adsorption-induced variation in the surfaces states on a cantilever. The methodology involves exciting charge carriers into or out of the surface states with photons having increasing discrete levels of energy. The excitation energy is provided as discrete levels of photon energy by scanning the wavelength of an exciting source that is illuminating the cantilever surface. When the charge carriers are excited into or out of the surface states, the cantilever bending changes due to changes in surface stress. The amount of cantilever bending with respect to an identical cantilever as a function of excitation energy is used to determine the energy levels associated with adsorbates.
This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-AC05-96OR22464 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation, and the U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention.