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Opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Resonant Acoustic Sensors


Material Measurement Laboratory, Applied Chemicals and Materials Division

RO# Location
50.64.72.B8153 Boulder, CO

Please note: This Agency only participates in the February and August reviews.


name email phone
Ward L. Johnson 303.497.5805


Acoustic resonators operating at frequencies in the megahertz range offer the potential of providing exceptionally high sensitivity in the detection and characterization of cells, particles, or molecules for healthcare diagnostics and monitoring of industrial processes, infrastructure materials degradation, environmental pollution, and chemical/biological warfare agents. Measured resonator parameters include frequencies, acoustic loss, and/or phase noise, and targeted analyte parameters determined from these acoustic measurements can include adhered mass, extent of chemical reaction, nanoscale adhesion strength, and/or level of cellular metabolic activity. Technical challenges involved in research on such sensors include the development of physical models for resonator/particle interactions and the identification and minimization of sources of interference. NIST research in this area has included the development of methods employing quartz-crystal resonators for sensing metabolically driven nanoscale fluctuations of bacteria in various chemical and physical environments. Such methods offer the potential of rapid assessment of the efficacy of antibiotics in clinical settings and biocides in infrastructural systems.


Acoustic resonators; Sensors; Biosensing; Chemical sensing; Cells; Microbes; Quartz crystal microbalances; QCM; Inverted mesa resonators; Phase noise; Nanoscale microbial motion; antimicrobial susceptibility testing


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$74,950.00 $3,000.00
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