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    The interaction of biomolecules, such as proteins, with biomaterial surfaces is key to disease diagnostic and therapeutic development applications. There is a significant need for rapid, low-cost, field-serviceable instruments to monitor such interactions, where open-source tools can help to improve the accessibility to disease screening instruments especially in low- and middle-income countries. We have developed and evaluated a low-cost integrated quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) instrument for biomolecular analysis based on an open-source QCM device. The custom QCM instrument was equipped with a custom-made electronically controlled isothermal chamber with a closed-loop control routine. A thermal coefficient of 5.6 ppm/°C was obtained from a series of evaluations of the implemented control. Additionally, a custom-designed data acquisition system and a mathematical processing and analysis tool is implemented. The quartz crystal detection chips used here incorporate gold and reduced graphene oxide (rGO) coated surfaces. We demonstrate the system capability to monitor and record the biomolecular interaction between a typical protein bovine serum albumin (BSA) and these two substrates. This instrument was compared to a commercial QCM, demonstrating good correspondence between the computed mass adsorption density responses using the Sauerbrey model. For both Au and rGO surfaces, the custom QCM significantly outperforms the commercial system in limit of detection, sensitivity and linear range. The instrument presented here has the potential to serve as a ubiquitous bioelectronic tool for point-of-care disease screening and rapid therapeutics development. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Daniel Meléndrez, Piramon Hampitak, Thomas Jowitt, Maria Iliut, Aravind Vijayaraghavan. Development of an open-source thermally stabilized quartz crystal microbalance instrument for biomolecule-substrate binding assays on gold and graphene. Analytica chimica acta. 2021 Apr 29;1156:338329

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    PMID: 33781458

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