Piezoresistive microcantilever sensor is widely used in sensing applications including liquid and gas flow detection. Microcantilevers can function as an embedded system if they are coated with polymers or nanomaterials to improve sensing performance. In this paper, we investigated the performance of piezoresistive microcantilevers (PMC) with and without additional coating. We studied the sensitivity of the PMC sensor after coating it with a three-dimensional porous hydrogel and piezoresistive graphene oxide layer. Hydrogel embedded piezoresistive microcantilever (EPM) showed better results than PMC during solvent sensing application. The resistance change for hydrogel embedded PMC was higher compared to bare PMC by 430% (3.2% to 17%) while detecting isopropyl alcohol (IPA), by approximately 1.5 orders of magnitude (0.19% to 5.7%) while detecting the presence of deionized water. Graphene Oxide coated PMC showed a wider detection range by 30 milliliter/min and 24% better sensitivity than bare PMC during the gas detection experiment. Additionally, we compared the experiment result with COMSOL simulation to develop a model for our embedded PMC sensing. Simulation shows significantly higher deflection of the EPM compared to the bare PMC (66.67% higher while detecting IPA, consistent with the trend observed during the experiment). The facile drop casting-based embedded microcantilever fabrication technique can lead to improved performance in different sensing applications. Our future work will focus on detecting biomolecules by using our constructed embedded systems.

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