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Title: Graphene inspired sensing devices
Author: Panteli, Christoforos
ISNI:       0000 0004 9350 8945
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2019
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Graphene’s exciting characteristics such as high mechanical strength, tuneable electrical prop- erties, high thermal conductivity, elasticity, large surface-to-volume ratio, make it unique and attractive for a plethora of applications including gas and liquid sensing. Adsorption, the phys- ical bonding of molecules on solid surfaces, has huge impact on the electronic properties of graphene. We use this to develop gas sensing devices with faster response time by suspending graphene over large area (cm^2) on silicon nanowire arrays (SiNWAs). These are fabricated by two-step metal-assisted chemical etching (MACE) and using a home-developed polymer-assisted graphene transfer (PAGT) process. The advantage of suspending graphene is the removal of diffusion-limited access to the adsorption sites at the interface between graphene and its support. By modifying the Langmuir adsorption model and fitting the experimental response curves, we find faster response times for both ammonia and acetone vapours. The use of suspended graphene improved the overall response, based on speed and amplitude of response, by up to 750% on average. This device could find applications in biomedical breath analysis for diseases such lung cancer, asthma, kidney failure and more. Taking advantage of the mechanical strength of graphene and using the developed PAGT process, we transfer it on commercial (CMOS) Ion-Sensitive Field-Effect Transistor (ISFET) arrays. The deposition of graphene on the top sensing layer reduces drift that results from the surface modification during exposure to electrolyte while improving the overall performance by up to about 10^13 % and indicates that the ISFET can operate with metallic sensing membrane and not only with insulating materials as confirmed by depositing Au on the gate surface. Post- processing of the ISFET top surface by reactive ion plasma etching, proved that the physical location of trapped charge lies within the device structure. The process improved its overall performance by about 105 %. The post-processing of the ISFET could be applied for sensor performance in any of its applications including pH sensing for DNA sequencing and glucose monitoring.
Supervisor: Fobelets, Kristel ; Georgiou, Pantelis Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral