Hit or Miss: Sensor Design via Scaled Collision Theory

WJ Zhang and S Nazarian and M Wang and SW Cranford, JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING MECHANICS, 144, 04018076 (2018).

DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)EM.1943-7889.0001487

The working characteristics of targeted surface sensing systemssuch as fluid velocity and concentration limitshave mostly been explored through experimental trials. Here we develop a novel scaled collision theory to facilitate the experimental screening process in determining the optimal system parameters specific to sensing discrete molecular or particulate targets with low concentration in a bulk fluid system, such as biomarkers, pollutants, or explosives. A simple fluid sensor system was developed and subjected to steady-state Couette flow to explore key parameters. Validated by 177 particle-based coarse-grain simulations, this theory indicates that the chance of successful pairing events between molecular markers and its corresponding targetsor hitsis determined by their concentrations, binding affinity or energy, and more importantly the flow velocity. Scaled collision theory reveals great potential to be used as a system design tool for a wide spectrum of sensing applications, ranging from water and air quality monitoring to biomedical detection and disease diagnostics.

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