Table of Contents
Nanomaterials, Volume 8, Issue 12 (December 2018)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) Surface ionization provides a simple, sensitive, and selective method for the detection of [...] Read more. Surface ionization provides a simple, sensitive, and selective method for the detection of high-proton affinity substances. Tests on different kinds of SI sensors showed that the sensitivity and selectivity of such devices is not only dependent on the stoichiometry and nanomorphology of the emitter materials, but also on the shape of the electrode configurations that are used to read out the SI signals. Whereas, in parallel-plate capacitor devices, different kinds of emitter materials exhibit a high level of amine-selectivity, MEMS and NEMS versions of SI sensors employing the same kinds of emitter materials provide significantly higher sensitivity, however, at the expense of a reduced chemical selectivity. In this paper, it is argued that such sensitivity-selectivity trade-offs arise from unselective physical ionization phenomena that occur in the high-field regions immediately adjacent to the surfaces of sharply curved MEMS (NEMS) emitter and collector electrodes.