Proc. SPIE-Int. Soc. Opt. Eng. 1998, 3539 (Chemical Microsensors and Applications), 17–26.

Solution-Based Analysis of Multiple Analytes by a Sensor Array: Toward the Development of an ‘Electronic Tongue

S. Savoy, J. J. Lavigne, J. S.-J. Yoo, J. Wright, M. Rodriguez, A. Goodey, J. B. McDoniel, J. T. McDevitt, E. V. Anslyn, J. B. Shear, A. Ellington, D. P. Neikirk

A micromachined sensor array has been developed for the rapid characterization of multi-component mixtures in aqueous media. The sensor functions in a manner analogous to that of the mammalian tongue, using an array composed of individually immobilized polystyrene-polyethylene glycol composite microspheres selectively arranged in micromachined etch cavities localized on silicon wafers. Sensing occurs via colorimetric or fluorometric changes to indicator molecules that are covalently bound to amine termination sites on the polymeric microspheres. The hybrid micromachined structure has been interfaced directly to a charged-coupled-device (CCD) that is used for the simultaneous acquisition of the optical data from the individually addressable "taste bud" elements. With the miniature sensor array, acquisition of data streams composed of red, green, and blue (RGB) color patterns distinctive for the analytes in the solution are rapidly acquired. The unique combination of carefully chosen reporter molecules with water permeable microspheres allows for the simultaneous detection and quantification of a variety of analytes. The fabrication of the sensor structure and the initial colorimetric and fluorescent responses for pH, Ca+2, Ce+3, and sugar are reported. Interface to microfluidic components should also be possible, producing a complete sampling/sensing system.