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Biosensors 2016, 6(1), 9;

Multi-Wire Tri-Gate Silicon Nanowires Reaching Milli-pH Unit Resolution in One Micron Square Footprint

Institute of Bioengineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
DIEGM, Università degli Studi di Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy
Laboratoire d’Électronique et de Technologie de l’Information (LETI), Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives (CEA), 38054 Grenoble Cedex 9, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mark A. Reed and Mathias Wipf
Received: 24 November 2015 / Revised: 26 February 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2016 / Published: 15 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Field-Effect Transistor Biosensors)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2007 KB, uploaded 15 March 2016]   |  


The signal-to-noise ratio of planar ISFET pH sensors deteriorates when reducing the area occupied by the device, thus hampering the scalability of on-chip analytical systems which detect the DNA polymerase through pH measurements. Top-down nano-sized tri-gate transistors, such as silicon nanowires, are designed for high performance solid-state circuits thanks to their superior properties of voltage-to-current transduction, which can be advantageously exploited for pH sensing. A systematic study is carried out on rectangular-shaped nanowires developed in a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS)-compatible technology, showing that reducing the width of the devices below a few hundreds of nanometers leads to higher charge sensitivity. Moreover, devices composed of several wires in parallel further increase the exposed surface per unit footprint area, thus maximizing the signal-to-noise ratio. This technology allows a sub milli-pH unit resolution with a sensor footprint of about 1 µm2, exceeding the performance of previously reported studies on silicon nanowires by two orders of magnitude. View Full-Text
Keywords: silicon nanowires; tri-gate transistors; ISFET; pH sensors; 1/f noise silicon nanowires; tri-gate transistors; ISFET; pH sensors; 1/f noise

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Accastelli, E.; Scarbolo, P.; Ernst, T.; Palestri, P.; Selmi, L.; Guiducci, C. Multi-Wire Tri-Gate Silicon Nanowires Reaching Milli-pH Unit Resolution in One Micron Square Footprint. Biosensors 2016, 6, 9.

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