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Special Issue "Semiconductor and CMOS-Based Sensors for Environmental Monitoring"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Florin Udrea Website E-Mail
Professor of Semiconductor Engineering, University of Cambridge, Department of Engineering, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Interests: semiconductor materials and devices; CMOS sensors; power devices; smart sensors
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Julian Gardner Website E-Mail
Professor of Electronic Engineering, The University of Warwick, School of Engineering, Coventry, United Kingdom
Interests: CMOS sensors; biomimetics; electronic noses; chemical microsensors; chemical microsystems; electronic tongues; biomedical engineering; pattern recognition
Guest Editor
Dr. Ibraheem Haneef Website E-Mail
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Air University, Islamabad, Pakistan
Interests: CMOS MEMS mechanical sensors; MEMS design; MEMS packaging; multi-sensing MEMS devices; CMOS MEMS for automotive; biomedical; fluidic and mechanical applications

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sensors based upon semiconductor materials, and in particular those employing CMOS technology, are receiving substantial attention because they can be fabricated in high volumes at a very low unit cost. In addition, analogue and digital circuitry can be integrated on a single chip to make smart sensors with digital outputs. These sensors are ideally suitable to high-volume emerging markets in the areas of smart homes, smart phones, healthcare devices and wearable devices.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and review papers on the design, modelling, simulation, fabrication, characterization, packaging and system integration or final applications of semiconductor-based and CMOS-based sensors are welcome. The topics proposed to be covered in this issue include:

  • Material research oriented to semiconductor- or CMOS-based sensors, e.g. CNTs, graphene, GaN, SiC
  • Processes and fabrication technologies for miniaturized CMOS sensors
  • Modelling, design and simulation of microsystems and integrated semiconductor- or CMOS-based sensors
  • Semiconductor-based sensors
  • CMOS sensors
  • Biological, chemical, and physical applications of CMOS sensors, e.g. glucose sensors, gas sensors, flow sensors, IR sensors and pressure sensors.
  • Combined sensors or sensor fusion
  • Smart interface circuitry and signal processing methods for CMOS sensors

Prof. Dr. Florin Udrea
Prof. Dr. Julian Gardner
Dr. Ibraheem Haneef
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
UV Sensitivity of MOS Structures with Silicon Nanoclusters
Sensors 2019, 19(10), 2277; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19102277 - 17 May 2019
Abstract
Selective UV sensitivity was observed in Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor structures with Si nanoclusters. Si nanocrystals and amorphous Si nanoparticles (a-Si NPs) were obtained by furnace annealing of SiOx films with x = 1.15 for 60 min in N2 at 1000 and 700 °C, [...] Read more.
Selective UV sensitivity was observed in Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor structures with Si nanoclusters. Si nanocrystals and amorphous Si nanoparticles (a-Si NPs) were obtained by furnace annealing of SiOx films with x = 1.15 for 60 min in N2 at 1000 and 700 °C, respectively. XPS and TEM analysis prove phase separation and formation of Si nanocrystals in SiO2, while the a-Si NPs are formed in SiO1.7 matrix. Both types of structures show selective sensitivity to UV light; the effect is more pronounced in the structure with nanocrystals. The responsivity of the nanocrystal structure to 365 nm UV light is ~ 4 times higher than that to green light at 4 V applied to the top contact. The observed effect is explained by assuming that only short wavelength radiation generates photocarriers in the amorphous and crystalline nanoclusters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiconductor and CMOS-Based Sensors for Environmental Monitoring)
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Open AccessArticle
Proximity Gettering Design of Hydrocarbon–Molecular–Ion–Implanted Silicon Wafers Using Dark Current Spectroscopy for CMOS Image Sensors
Sensors 2019, 19(9), 2073; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19092073 - 04 May 2019
Abstract
We developed silicon epitaxial wafers with high gettering capability by using hydrocarbon–molecular–ion implantation. These wafers also have the effect of hydrogen passivation on process-induced defects and a barrier to out-diffusion of oxygen of the Czochralski silicon (CZ) substrate bulk during Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) [...] Read more.
We developed silicon epitaxial wafers with high gettering capability by using hydrocarbon–molecular–ion implantation. These wafers also have the effect of hydrogen passivation on process-induced defects and a barrier to out-diffusion of oxygen of the Czochralski silicon (CZ) substrate bulk during Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) device fabrication processes. We evaluated the electrical device performance of CMOS image sensor fabricated on this type of wafer by using dark current spectroscopy. We found fewer white spot defects compared with those of intrinsic gettering (IG) silicon wafers. We believe that these hydrocarbon–molecular–ion–implanted silicon epitaxial wafers will improve the device performance of CMOS image sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiconductor and CMOS-Based Sensors for Environmental Monitoring)
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Open AccessArticle
Sensitivity Enhancement of Silicon-on-Insulator CMOS MEMS Thermal Hot-Film Flow Sensors by Minimizing Membrane Conductive Heat Losses
Sensors 2019, 19(8), 1860; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19081860 - 18 Apr 2019
Abstract
Minimizing conductive heat losses in Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) thermal (hot-film) flow sensors is the key to minimize the sensors’ power consumption and maximize their sensitivity. Through a comprehensive review of literature on MEMS thermal (calorimetric, time of flight, hot-film/hot-film) flow sensors published during the [...] Read more.
Minimizing conductive heat losses in Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) thermal (hot-film) flow sensors is the key to minimize the sensors’ power consumption and maximize their sensitivity. Through a comprehensive review of literature on MEMS thermal (calorimetric, time of flight, hot-film/hot-film) flow sensors published during the last two decades, we establish that for curtailing conductive heat losses in the sensors, researchers have either used low thermal conductivity substrate materials or, as a more effective solution, created low thermal conductivity membranes under the heaters/hot-films. However, no systematic experimental study exists that investigates the effect of membrane shape, membrane size, heater/hot-film length and M e m b r a n e (size) to H e a t e r (hot-film length) Ratio (MHR) on sensors’ conductive heat losses. Therefore, in this paper we have provided experimental evidence of dependence of conductive heat losses in membrane based MEMS hot-film flow sensors on MHR by using eight MEMS hot-film flow sensors, fabricated in a 1 µm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) CMOS foundry, that are thermally isolated by square and circular membranes. Experimental results demonstrate that: (a) thermal resistance of both square and circular membrane hot-film sensors increases with increasing MHR, and (b) conduction losses in square membrane based hot-film flow sensors are lower than the sensors having circular membrane. The difference (or gain) in thermal resistance of square membrane hot-film flow sensors viz-a-viz the sensors on circular membrane, however, decreases with increasing MHR. At MHR = 2, this difference is 5.2%, which reduces to 3.0% and 2.6% at MHR = 3 and MHR = 4, respectively. The study establishes that for membrane based SOI CMOS MEMS hot-film sensors, the optimum MHR is 3.35 for square membranes and 3.30 for circular membranes, beyond which the gain in sensors’ thermal efficiency (thermal resistance) is not economical due to the associated sharp increase in the sensors’ (membrane) size, which makes sensors more expensive as well as fragile. This paper hence, provides a key guideline to MEMS researchers for designing the square and circular membranes-supported micro-machined thermal (hot-film) flow sensors that are thermally most-efficient, mechanically robust and economically viable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiconductor and CMOS-Based Sensors for Environmental Monitoring)
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Open AccessArticle
Video Monitoring Application of CMOS 4T-PPD-APS Under γ-ray Radiation
Sensors 2019, 19(2), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19020359 - 17 Jan 2019
Abstract
In this paper, we discuss the potential use of four transistor active pixel sensor (4T-APS) as a video monitor at a nuclear accident site with a high level of γ radiation. The resistance and radiation responses to γ radiation were investigated by radiation [...] Read more.
In this paper, we discuss the potential use of four transistor active pixel sensor (4T-APS) as a video monitor at a nuclear accident site with a high level of γ radiation. The resistance and radiation responses to γ radiation were investigated by radiation experiments using 137Cs and 60Co γ-ray sources. The radiation resistance of 4T-APS was studied by testing the mean and the maximum dark current of the sensors after irradiation. A random spatial distribution of radiation response events was observed upon analyzing these events on the video images in a given time during irradiation. The background dependence of the 4T-APS was also studied by comparing the grayscale incremental value of the images with different color and grayscale backgrounds: the radiation response events were obvious on the images with a background having a smaller grayscale value or a deeper color. Finally, the color saturation and resolution of the images were tested using a vector oscilloscope and a test card. When the total ionizing dose was less than or equal to the damage threshold, no significant performance deterioration of 4T-APS was observed in an environment with sufficient light. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiconductor and CMOS-Based Sensors for Environmental Monitoring)
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Open AccessArticle
Al2O3-Based a-IGZO Schottky Diodes for Temperature Sensing
Sensors 2019, 19(2), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19020224 - 09 Jan 2019
Abstract
High-temperature electronic devices and sensors that operate in harsh environments, especially high-temperature environments, have attracted widespread attention. An Al2O3 based a-IGZO (amorphous indium-gallium-zinc-oxide) Schottky diode sensor is proposed. The diodes are tested at 21–400 °C, and the design and fabrication [...] Read more.
High-temperature electronic devices and sensors that operate in harsh environments, especially high-temperature environments, have attracted widespread attention. An Al2O3 based a-IGZO (amorphous indium-gallium-zinc-oxide) Schottky diode sensor is proposed. The diodes are tested at 21–400 °C, and the design and fabrication process of the Schottky diodes and the testing methods are introduced. Herein, a series of factors influencing diode performance are studied to obtain the relationship between diode ideal factor n, the barrier height ФB, and temperature. The sensitivity of the diode sensors is 0.81 mV/°C, 1.37 mV/°C, and 1.59 mV/°C when the forward current density of the diode is 1 × 10−5 A/cm2, 1 × 10−4 A/cm2, and 1 × 10−3 A/cm2, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiconductor and CMOS-Based Sensors for Environmental Monitoring)
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Open AccessArticle
Gas Sensing with Iridium Oxide Nanoparticle Decorated Carbon Nanotubes
Sensors 2019, 19(1), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19010113 - 31 Dec 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
The properties of multi-wall carbon nanotubes decorated with iridium oxide nanoparticles (IrOx-MWCNTs) are studied to detect harmful gases such as nitrogen dioxide and ammonia. IrOx nanoparticles were synthetized using a two-step method, based on a hydrolysis and acid condensation growth [...] Read more.
The properties of multi-wall carbon nanotubes decorated with iridium oxide nanoparticles (IrOx-MWCNTs) are studied to detect harmful gases such as nitrogen dioxide and ammonia. IrOx nanoparticles were synthetized using a two-step method, based on a hydrolysis and acid condensation growth mechanism. The metal oxide nanoparticles obtained were employed for decorating the sidewalls of carbon nanotubes. Iridium-oxide nanoparticle decorated carbon nanotube material showed higher and more stable responses towards NH3 and NO2 than bare carbon nanotubes under different experimental conditions, establishing the optimal operating temperatures and estimating the limits of detection and quantification. Furthermore, the nanomaterials employed were studied using different morphological and compositional characterization techniques and a gas sensing mechanism is proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiconductor and CMOS-Based Sensors for Environmental Monitoring)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Towards Integrated Mid-Infrared Gas Sensors
Sensors 2019, 19(9), 2076; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19092076 - 04 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Optical gas sensors play an increasingly important role in many applications. Sensing techniques based on mid-infrared absorption spectroscopy offer excellent stability, selectivity and sensitivity, for numerous possibilities expected for sensors integrated into mobile and wearable devices. Here we review recent progress towards the [...] Read more.
Optical gas sensors play an increasingly important role in many applications. Sensing techniques based on mid-infrared absorption spectroscopy offer excellent stability, selectivity and sensitivity, for numerous possibilities expected for sensors integrated into mobile and wearable devices. Here we review recent progress towards the miniaturization and integration of optical gas sensors, with a focus on low-cost and low-power consumption devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semiconductor and CMOS-Based Sensors for Environmental Monitoring)
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