An apparatus and method for sensing chemical and/or biological analytes
includes a deflectable arm of a microcantilever at least partially
embedded within a sensing element. A gaseous or liquid medium which may
include the analyte being detected is introduced to the sensing element.
The sensing element undergoes volumetric expansion or contraction in the
presence of the analyte sought to be detected, typically by adsorbing the
analyte. The volumetric change of the sensing element causes the
deflectable arm to deflect. The deflectable arm includes at least one
measurable physical property which changes when the arm deflects.
Detecting means are provided to measure the change in the physical
property to determine the presence and amount of analyte present. An
array of microcantilevers in which each microcantilever is dedicated to
detecting a particular analyte which may be included in the medium, is