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Interactive Effect of Hysteresis and Surface Chemistry on Gated Silicon Nanowire Gas Sensors

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journal contribution
posted on 23.05.2012, 00:00 by Yair Paska, Hossam Haick
Gated silicon nanowire gas sensors have emerged as promising devices for chemical and biological sensing applications. Nevertheless, the performance of these devices is usually accompanied by a “hysteresis” phenomenon that limits their performance under real-world conditions. In this paper, we use a series of systematically changed trichlorosilane-based organic monolayers to study the interactive effect of hysteresis and surface chemistry on gated silicon nanowire gas sensors. The results show that the density of the exposed or unpassivated Si–OH groups (trap states) on the silicon nanowire surface play by far a crucial effect on the hysteresis characteristics of the gated silicon nanowire sensors, relative to the effect of hydrophobicity or molecular density of the organic monolayer. Based on these findings, we provide a tentative model-based understanding of (i) the relation between the adsorbed organic molecules, the hysteresis, and the related fundamental parameters of gated silicon nanowire characteristics and of (ii) the relation between the hysteresis drift and possible screening effect on gated silicon nanowire gas sensors upon exposure to different analytes at real-world conditions. The findings reported in this paper could be considered as a launching pad for extending the use of the gated silicon nanowire gas sensors for discriminations between polar and nonpolar analytes in complex, real-world gas mixtures.