Category Archives: Blog

Quartz Crystal Microbalance openQCM: our first test

As already mentioned, we have just completed the design and the electronic optimization of the Quartz Crystal Microbalance openQCM. At the moment we already have 2 working devices. So, we are very glad to show the first test in liquid environment.

In order to demonstrate the real behavior of the system  we have preferred to make a video. In my opinion is the best way to highlight the openQCM performances. Furthermore, it is a good opportunity to view the Java software in action!

openQCM is a system designed for working both  in air in liquid environments, the latter being the most challenging in terms of frequency noise and oscillator circuit design. The main aim of the experimental test are measuring:

  1. The frequency signal stability in air and liquid environments;
  2. The typical system equilibrium time after the liquid injection.

We chose to report raw data without any kind of data processing. This is very important for the evaluation of the performances of a sensing device, that’s the best way to appreciate the quality of opeQCM. In the final version of the  software we will use an algorithm for signal processing, in order to drastically increase the S/N ratio. But as you will see, the “raw” results are very exiting !

In this test we use a AT-cut quartz crystal at 10 MHz, pure water and a CellTram Oil microinjector.  The first part of the test was in air and after few minutes we injected water in the chamber. After the injection we collected more than 1/2 hour in order to evaluate the long time behaviour of the quartz sensor in liquid.

The first exciting results is that after the water injection, the system reached the thermal equilibrium in only few minutes. The second great results is the perfect horizontal plateau which remains at the same stable level for the rest of the experimental test.

If you want to evaluate by youself the quality of raw data you can download the data file here.

 

 

Pierce oscillator electronic circuit quartz crystal microbalance

Enhancing openQCM Quartz Crystal Microbalance Frequency Stability and Power Consumption

Easy solution for enhancing the frequency stability and reducing the power consumption of openQCM the open source quartz crystal microbalance.

Continue reading

openQCM design by Glenda Torres Guizado and 3D print by Sculpteo

openQCM the benefit and challenge of an open hardware project

Quartz Crystal Microbalance openQCM design by Glenda Torres Guizado and 3D print by Sculpteo

Quartz Crystal Microbalance openQCM design by Glenda Torres Guizado and 3D print by Sculpteo

Hi everybody,

This is my first post on the openQCM blog, so I introduce myself. I am Marco, scientific coordinator at Novaetech S.r.l. and now co-founder of the openQCM project the unique open source quartz crystal microbalance. Above all I am a lucky man because I really enjoy my work. Continue reading

Quartz Crystal Microbalance

Why an Open-Source Quartz Crystal Microbalance ?

[pullquote]I do open source because it’s fun and it works… Companies who work with the kernel community will waste less time and they’ll just work better. Linus Torvalds [/pullquote]

openqcm_exp

Quartz Crystal Microbalance openQCM – exploded view

Hello, in a few days we will launch our first scientific Open Hardware product.
I therefore believe it is appropriate, as first post to introduce and explain the reasons why we decided to adopt an “Open-Source” strategy.
My name is Raffaele and I am the co-founder of Novaetech Srl, a company that has been operating, for almost 10 years, in the field of applied research and sensors.
Despite being an astrophysicist, involved in the past in theoretical research about Cosmic Background Microwave Radiation, the Ph.D. in aerospace engineering has led me to a crucial turning point in life.
Specifically, I have been involved in the development of systems based on Quartz Crystal Microbalance, designed to detect and study the presence of dust and water vapor in extraterrestrial environments, such as the planet Mars and the 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet, that in the past weeks has been approached by the ESA Rosetta spacecraft.
After a few years in the world of research, I decided to found a company together with some of my colleagues. Our main goal was to create real business starting from our know-how. Our aim was to design and produce high technology custom systems, and offering specifics problem solving services for the research and for the industry.
We initially worked only in the aerospace sector. Gradually, however, with the acquisition of new expertise, we decided to extend our activities in wider research fields, where was specifically necessary to employ ultra sensitive mass sensors characterized by extreme performances.

And so we have designed and implemented systems for medicine, biology, environment and energy.

Thanks to our activities, we have had the honor to work with leading international institutions and companies as NASA, ESA, Pirelli Labs., Thales etc. We have contributed to the filing of patents for new MEMS technologies and we have published several scientific papers in journals such as Science and Analyst.

But, it has always been our greatest desire to create a specific product, whose technology core could represent our history. A product to be easily accessible to all by maintaining high technology and quality at the same time. A product absolutely Open-Source… and more better Open Hardware.

As matter of fact, we firmly believe that sharing knowledge is the crux of the new future. Only open access could be the basis of a better society.

We are working around several other ideas, but we felt that our first step should allow easy access to a particular research facility. So we decided to develop a new concept Quartz Crystal Microbalance device: openQCM.

Why a Quartz Crystal Microbalance system? QCM are based on the intrinsic property of the quartz crystal: the piezoelectricity. As a consequence the development of analytical devices for microbiology, materials science, pharmaceutics and medicine, can be simpler and potentially cheeper. A device in which
the quality of measurements and related results depend mainly on the intrinsic feature that nature gave to the quartz… only one system for a wide field of applications.
As matter of fact, QCM systems are today widely used in various fields of research and industry. However, it is difficult to gain access to such a technology, in form of a complete HD/SW system, unless investing from a few thousand up to several hundred thousand dollars. But there are many research institutions and small enterprises unable to support high costs for instrumentation resources.

To these reasons, we wanted to start by making available a research tool that everyone can very easily build by yourself, or buy at a very affordable price. The only way to do this is trough the Open Hardware concept.
As happened in Open-Source software, the main advantage of the] Open Hardware strategy is the direct involvement of the community in the improvement and customization of systems and its possible derivatives. An immense added value also for key fields such as research and industry.

We are firmly convinced that high quality research  is not necessarily related to highly expensive proprietary products, characterized by closed-architecture. On the contrary, we believe that the Open Hardware is even better, since collaborative participation produces high-speed and high quality development.