Single Chip Nanoelectronic Nose

TITLE: Single Chip Nanoelectronic Nose

Advisors: Sameer R Sonkusale

Researcher: Yu Chen, Samuel MacNaughton (completed), Vinay Agarwal (Completed)



In spite of the promise of nanotechnology and extensive research in this field, actual functional devices using nanomaterials have been slow to come to the market. The main reason has been a lack of universal approach for integration of various nanomaterials with CMOS technology, a workhorse behind much of today’s digital revolution. The primary objective of this research is to find new pathways to integrate diverse nanomaterials of all morphologies (e.g. nanoparticles, nanoplatelets, nanotubes, nanowires) on CMOS chips. A powerful outcome of this effort is a possible realization of a single integrated chip for chemical sensing that is a true electronic analog to the function provided by a mammalian nose. Such an electronic nose has broad applications in breath and saliva diagnostics and in realization of sensors for the environment and for homeland security.




The key innovation is a post-CMOS room temperature, low cost, maskless, directed assembly approach based on dielectrophoresis (DEP) for programmable assembly of diverse array of nanomaterials. We utilize top-down fabricated custom CMOS chips as electroactive functional substrates for bottom-up DEP assembly of nanomaterials. The arrays of nanomaterials have been utilized as electronic nose for chemical vapor sensing. The CMOS chip contains low voltage and low power circuitry for DEP assembly, in-situ metrology and individual sensor readout, in a true single chip implementation. Recently, we also integrated a PDMS microchannel as uGC column for gas separation for multi-modal gas sensing in a first of its kind nanosensor array on chip.



We have demonstrated high throughput parallel assembly of single walled carbon nanotubes, DNA-functionalized carbon nanotubes, graphene and metal oxide nanowires for sensing of volatile organic compounds, all on CMOS chip. This is the first ever report of heterogeneous integration of different nanomaterials directly on CMOS chip. The single chip electronic nose was used to detect volatile organic compounds, nerve agent simulants and environmental pollutants. The work was recognized by two best paper awards (IEEE Nano 2008, Frontier Trends in Microelectronics (FTM) 2009), top 5 finalist for best paper award (IEEE Sensors 2008) and graced the cover of the journal Nanotechnology (Vol. 20, No. 22, 3 June 2009). Research also made the news (Boston Globe, Nanotechweb). It has resulted in six journal publications (PLoS One 2014, Materials Research Express 2014, Nanotechnology 2009 2010,2013, IEEE Sensors Journal 2013) with one article (IEEE Sensors Journal 2015) in review. Also published have been 2 book chapters, 1 invention disclosure and numerous conference proceedings (Transducers, Hilton Head, IEEE Sensors, IEEE Nano).


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