A microfabricated capacitive chemical sensor can be used as an autonomous chemical sensor or as an analyte-sensitive chemical preconcentrator in a larger microanalytical system. The capacitive chemical sensor detects changes in sensing film dielectric properties, such as the dielectric constant, conductivity, or dimensionality. These changes result from the interaction of a target analyte with the sensing film. This capability provides a low-power, self-heating chemical sensor suitable for remote and unattended sensing applications. The capacitive chemical sensor also enables a smart, analyte-sensitive chemical preconcentrator. After sorption of the sample by the sensing film, the film can be rapidly heated to release the sample for further analysis. Therefore, the capacitive chemical sensor can optimize the sample collection time prior to release to enable the rapid and accurate analysis of analytes by a microanalytical system.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made with Government support under contract no. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention.