Q-Sense Pro

The Q-Sense Pro enables real time analysis of thin films and surface interactions using Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation (QCM-D) monitoring technology and is fully automated for high throughput.

Q-Sense Pro

The Q-Sense Pro enables real time analysis of thin films and surface interactions using Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation (QCM-D) monitoring technology and is fully automated for high throughput.

Manufacturer Q-Sense
Product Series Q-Sense QCM-D
Measurement principle Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation
Application Biomolecular Interactions, Surface & Thin Film Interactions
Sample type thin films, polymers, surfactants, proteins, lipids, cells
Sensor system8 channel
Minimum sample volume50µl
Working temperature4 to 70°C

Product Overview

The Q-Sense Pro enables real-time analysis of surface-molecule interactions by measuring two parameters—frequency (related to mass/thickness) and dissipation (related to rigidity). This high throughput instrument allows for unattended operation and comprises an auto-sampler, a flow module with eight separate sensors, syringe pumps, measurement electronics and controlling/analysing software. It is easy to program the analysis sequences and then leave the instrument to complete the measurement and cleaning cycles.

The flow module with eight sensors enables four parallel measurements in flow mode or eight parallel measurements in static mode. The syringe pumps work separately and allow four channels to be used independently. The auto-sampler can also be used to prepare a sample concentration series that may be required for an experiment.

Samples can be presented in 36 vials or 72 micro tubes or a 96 microtiter plate. Only 50 μl of sample per sensor is required. Analysis temperatures can be set between 4 and 70°C.

At the completion of all the measurements the software processes the data to provide mass,thickness, viscoelastic properties, adsorption rates etc.

Q-Sense Dfind Software. All data acquisition and analysis tools are integrated in this one program. The information embedded in the raw data is extracted to provide measurements such as mass, thickness, viscoelastic properties, adsorption rates etc. This intuitive software guides the user from raw data reviewing, through the modelling and to the final report. The graphical interface helps to quantify, compile and compare data.

This versatile and modular instrument is compatible with the whole range of optional measurement modules and Q-Sense sensor surfaces. See standard coatings.

What is QCM-D?

Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation (QCM-D) is a label free technique that provides real time analysis of thin film formation and interactions. The film is formed on a sensor which consists of a thin quartz disc sandwiched between a pair of electrodes. An AC voltage oscillates the sensor at high frequency. The solution of film material flows across the surface of the sensor and molecular layers of film build up on the surface. The sensor mass changes and so does its oscillation frequency. The frequency change is related to mass/thickness of the film.Mass changes can be measured with nanogram sensitivity – less than 1% of a protein monolayer can be detected.

When the AC voltage is switched off the sensor oscillation dissipates at a rate related to the films viscoelastic properties. It is the dissipation that gives the structural information.

Frequency-mass. If the film is thin and rigid the sensor oscillation frequency can be used in the Sauerbrey relation to calculate the total mass on the sensor surface. If the film material density is known then the film thickness can be calculated.

Dissipation-viscoelasticity. Viscoelastic films dampen the sensor oscillation more than rigid films and the Sauerbrey relation is no longer valid. By measuring the dissipation rate and driving the sensor at multiple harmonic frequencies it is possible to calculate the values of film thickness, viscosity, elasticity and density.

Applications include protein conformational changes, lipids, polymers and whole cells. It is possible to determine the water content of molecular layers. Interactions can be studied on many sensor coatings such as gold and polymers.

  • Demonstration video
  • Benefits
  • Accessories

Demonstration video


Measure the mass of molecular layers formed on the sensor with nanogram sensitivity.

Structural changes measured simultaneously to distinguish between two similar binding events or observe a phase transition in bound layers.

Real time measurements allowing recording and evaluation of kinetics

Flow measurements in a temperature-controlled environment

Multi-frequency measurements 6 overtones can be measured enabling greater modelling accuracy.

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The QCM-D with simultaneous microscopy observations.

A flow module with a window combines QCM-D measurements with visual access to the sensor surface.

The QCM-D data reveals mass and structural changes while the microscope image shows changes in shape and movement. This enables observation of light-induced reactions and bio-studies such as cell adhesion. The window flow module can also be used to study irradiation sensitive processes. The microscopy module requires the separate provision of a microscope.

The QCM-D with electrochemistry measurements


The electrochemistry flow module combines QCM-D measurements with electrochemistry analysis simultaneously. It provides real-time information on the mass and structure of thin films while a potentiostat initiates an interaction or provides interfacial charge transfer data.

Electrochemical measurements can be made by cyclic voltammetry and impedance spectroscopy. Applications include electrostatic interactions of polymers and biomolecules with surfaces and membrane potential measurements. The Electrochemistry module requires the separate provision of a potentiostat.

The QCM-D with ellipsometry measurements.

The ellipsometry flow module combines QCM-D measurements with ellipsometry analysis simultaneously. QCM-D measures the viscoelasticity of thin films while ellipsometry measures the film refractive index. Film thickness can be determined with both techniques, and results compared.

This combination of techniques makes it possible to quantify the solvent content of a film and distinguish between structural changes caused by the solvent or conformation changes caused by cross-linking. The ellipsometry flow module requires the separate provision an ellipsometer.

The QCM-D for measurements at extreme temperatures.

This module has a measurement chamber designed for QCM-D analysis from 4-150°C. It enables characterisation of the temperature dependence of film properties, including phase transitions, film degradation, shrinkage, swelling, and changes in viscoelasticity. It is also suitable to monitor surface interactions such as molecular uptake/release and conformational changes.

The QCM-D for Humidity studies.

The Humidity module enables measurements of vapor uptake and release from thin films coated on the sensor. A membrane is located just above the sensor surface creating an air gap. A saturated salt solution flows over the membrane to generate a specific relative humidity in the air gap. The humidity above the sensor equilibrates almost instantly giving real time measurements. A typical application is to measure swelling of polymer or cellulose films

The QCM-D open access module.

This enables direct access to the sensor so that samples can be pipetted directly onto the sensor surface. One application is the measurement of bulk viscosity which can be calculated from the frequency and dissipation responses. The open module comes with a lid to avoid sample evaporation.

The QCM-D Atomic Layer Deposition Holder.

This enables QCM-D measurements in a vacuum or gas phase. The ALD Holder is open on both sides of the sensor so that there is equal pressure on either side. This enables measurements at both low and high pressures.

Sensor coatings:

The sensor coating is a critical part of a QCM-D experiment. There is a wide selection of standard sensor coatings and customised coatings are fabricated upon request.


Aluminium (Al) Iron (Fe) Silicon Nitride (SiN)
Aluminium Oxide (Al2O3) Iron Oxide (Fe2O3) Silicon Oxycarbide (SiOC)
AlSiO Iron Oxide (Fe3O4) Silver (Ag)
Amorphous Fluoropolymer Indium Tin Oxide (ITO on Au) Soda-lime glass
Barium Titanate (BaTiO3) Magnesium (Mg) Stainless Steel (S2343, 316)
Biotin (on gold) Molybdenum (Mo) SStainless Steel (L605)
Borosilicate glass NHS-Amine Coupling Tantalum (Ta)
Cellulose (on SiO2) Nylon “6,6” Tantalum Nitride (TaN)
Chromium (Cr) Polyethylenimine (PEI) Titanium (Ti)
Cobalt (Co) Platinum (Pt) Tungsten (W)
Copper (Cu) Polystyrene (Ps) TZinc Oxide (ZnO)
Gold (Ag) Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) Zinc Sulfide (ZnS)
Gold (Ti Adhesion) Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) Zirconium Oxide (ZrO)
Graphene* NEW! Silicon (Si)
His-tag Capturing Silicon Carbide (SiC)
Hydroxyapatite Silicon Dioxide (SiO2)
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