Silicon Nanowire Based Electronic Devices for Sensing Applications

Sammanfattning: Silicon nanowire (SiNW) based electronic devices fabricated with a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) compatible process have wide-range and promising applications in sensing area. These SiNW sensors own high sensitivity, low-cost mass production possibility, and high integration density. In this thesis, we design and fabricate SiNW electronic devices with the CMOS-compatible process on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) substrates and explore their applications for ion sensing and quantum sensing. The thesis starts with ion sensing using SiNW field-effect transistors (SiNWFETs). The specific interaction between a sensing layer and analyte generates a change of local charge density and electrical potential, which can effectively modulate the conductance of SiNW channel. Multiplexed detection of molecular (MB+) and elemental (Na+) ions is demonstrated using a SiNWFET array, which is functionalized with ionophore-incorporated mixed-matrix membranes (MMMs). As a follow-up, polyethylene glycol (PEG) doping strategy is explored to suppress interference from the hydrophobic molecular ion and expand the multiplexed detection range. Then, the SiNW is downscaled to sub-10 nm with a gate-oxide-free configuration for single charge detection in liquid. We directly observe the capture and emission of a single H+ ion with individually activated Si dangling bonds (DBs) on the SiNW surface. This work demonstrates the unprecedented ability of the sub-10 nm SiNWFET for investigating the physics of the solid/liquid interface at single charge level.Apart from ion sensing, the SiNWFET can be suspended and act as a nanoelectromechanical resonator aiming for electrically detecting potential quantized mechanical vibration at low temperature. A suspended SiNW based single-hole transistor (SHT) is explored as a nanoelectromechanical resonator at 20 mK. Mechanical vibration is transduced to electrical readout by the SHT, and the transduction mechanism is dominated by piezoresistive effect. A giant effective piezoresistive gauge factor (~6000) with a strong correlation to the single-hole tunneling is also estimated. This hybrid device is demonstrated as a promising system to investigate macroscopic quantum behaviors of vibration phonon modes.Noise, including intrinsic device noise and environmental interference, is a serious concern for sensing applications of SiNW electronic devices. A H2 annealing process is explored to repair the SiNW surface defects and thus reduce the intrinsic noise by one order of magnitude. To suppress the external interference, lateral bipolar junction transistors (LBJTs) are fabricated on SOI substrate for local signal amplification of the SiNW sensors. Current gain and overall signal-to-noise ratio of the LBJTs are also optimized with an appropriate substrate voltage.