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February 16th, 2004
MEMS sensor detects single virus particle in real-time
Detection of a single virus particle was recently demonstrated for the first time in a sensor based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The tiny cantilever, measuring just 1 x 4 microns x 20 nanometers thick, vibrates at a fixed frequency until a virus particle lands on it, which changes its resonance enough to be detected. A single particle of vaccinia-a virus that forms the basis for the smallpox vaccine-weighs only 9 femtograms, or quadrillionths of a gram.
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