A Miniaturized Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) Measurement Instrument Based on a Phase-Locked Loop Circuit

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The quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) has been widely used in laboratory settings as an analytical tool for recognizing and discriminating biological and chemical molecules of interest. As a result, recent studies have shown there to be considerable attention in practical applications of the QCM technique beyond the laboratory. However, most commercial QCM instruments are not suitable for off-laboratory usage. For field-deployable applications and in situ detection, the development of a portable QCM measurement system achieving comparable performance to benchtop instruments is highly desired. In this paper, we describe the development of a fully customizable, miniaturized, battery-powered, and cost-efficient QCM system employing a phase-locked loop (PLL) electronic circuit-based QCM measurement system. The performance of this developed system showed a minimum frequency resolution of approximately 0.22 Hz at 0.1 s measurement time. This novel, miniaturized system successfully demonstrated an ability to detect two common volatile organic compounds (VOCs), methanol and dichloromethane (DCM), and the obtained results were comparable to responses from a commercially available benchtop instrument.

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Electronics (Switzerland)

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