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Title: Resonant nano-electro-mechanical sensors for molecular mass-detection
Author: Arab Hassani, Faezeh
ISNI:       0000 0004 2727 575X
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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This research is conducted as a part of EU FP7 project entitled NEMSIC (hybrid nanoelectro-mechanical/integrated circuit systems for sensing and power management applications) with project partners, EPFL, TU Delft, IMEC-NL, CEA-LETI, SCIPROM, IMEC-BE, Honeywell Romania, and HiQSCREEN. Nano-electro-mechanical (NEM) sensors are getting an increased interest because of their compatibility with “In-IC” integration, low power consumption and high sensitivity to applied force, external damping or additional mass. Today, commercial biosensors are developed based on mass-detection and electro-mechanical principles. One of the recent commercial mass-detection biosensors is a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) biosensor which achieves the mass sensitivity of a few tens pico g/Hz. The newly developed in-plane resonant NEM (IP R-NEM) sensor in this thesis achieves the mass sensitivity less than zepto g/Hz that is over nine orders smaller than that of the commercial QCM sensor using a much smaller sensing area compared to the QCM sensor. This fact will make the IP-RNEM sensor a world-unique sensor that shows a very high sensitivity to a very small change in mass. The stated mass sensitivity is achieved by modelling the functionalization and detection processes of the suspended beam. For modelling the linker molecules in the functionalization process, a conformal coating layer in different configurations are added to the suspended beam and the sparse distribution of target molecules in the detection process is modeled by changing the density of the coating layer. I would like to clarify that the scaling rule of the mass responsivity is given by k4 regardless of the different functionalization configurations. I develop a completely new hybrid NEM-MOS simulation technology which combines three-dimensional finite element method (3D FEM) based NEM device-level simulation and circuit-level simulation for NEM-MOS hybrid circuits. The FEM device-level simulation module also includes new modelling of selfassembled monolayer for surface functionalization as well as adsorb ed molecules to be detected and facilitates quantitative evaluation of mass responsivity of designed NEM sensor devices. The basic part of the sensor, the NEM structure, includes a suspended beam and two side electrodes and that is fabricated at the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre (SNC). The fabrication at SNC includes a new sensor that uses a free-free beam that improves the quality factor up to five orders of magnitude at room temperature and atmosphere based on the numerical results. The IP R-NEM sensor consists of a suspended beam that is integrated with an in-plane MOSFET and is fabricated by CEA-LETI. The monolithically integrated NEM with the MOSFET on the same SOI layer for the sensor is a real breakthrough which makes it a potential low-cost candidate among the mass-detection based sensors. With respect to the conducted radio-frequency (RF) characterization for nano-wire devices in collaboration with the Tokyo Institute of Technology and NEM structures, the designing of an RF contact pad to reduce the effect of parasitic frequencies and doing the measurement at high vacuum to reduce the motional resistance and increase the quality factor are necessary for the characterization of devices with nano-scale dimensions. The integrated MOSFET in the IP RNEM sensor amplifies the output transmission signal from the resonating beam by its intrinsic gain. The fabricated sensors show a three orders of magnitude larger gain than that of the previously proposed resonant suspended gate FETs by biasing the MOSFET at the optimized voltage biases that are found based on the DC characterization of MOSFETs.
Supervisor: Mizuta, Hiroshi ; Tsuchiya, Yoshishige Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science ; QC Physics ; TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering