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Solution-Gated Ultrathin Channel Indium Tin Oxide-Based Field-Effect Transistor Fabricated by a One-Step Procedure that Enables High-Performance Ion Sensing and Biosensing

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posted on 2021-08-05, 19:13 authored by Toshiya Sakata, Shoichi Nishitani, Akiko Saito, Yuta Fukasawa
In this paper, we propose a one-step procedure for fabricating a solution-gated ultrathin channel indium tin oxide (ITO)-based field-effect transistor (FET) biosensor, thus providing an ″all-by-ITO″ technology. A thin-film sheet was placed on both ends of a metal shadow mask, which were contacted with a glass substrate. That is, the bottom of the metal shadow mask corresponding to the channel was slightly raised from the substrate, resulting in the creeping of some particles into the gap during sputtering. Owing to this modified metal shadow mask, a thin ITO channel (<30–40 nm) and thick ITO source/drain electrodes (ca. 100 nm) were simultaneously fabricated during the one-step sputtering. The thickness of ITO films was critical for them to be semiconductive, depending on the maximum depletion width (∼30–40 nm for the ITO channel), similarly to 2D materials. The ultrathin ITO channel worked as an ion-sensitive membrane as well owing to the intrinsic oxidated surface directly contacting with an electrolyte solution. The solution-gated 20-nm-thick channel ITO-based FET, with a steep subthreshold slope (SS) of 55 mV/dec (pH 7.41) attributable to the electric double-layer capacitance at the electrolyte solution/channel interface and the absence of interfacial traps among electrodes formed in one step, demonstrated an ideal pH responsivity (∼56 mV/pH), resulting in the real-time monitoring of cellular respiration and the long-term stability of electrical properties for 1 month. Moreover, the chemical modification of the ITO channel surface is expected to contribute to biomolecular recognition with ultrahigh sensitivity owing to the remarkably steep SS, which provided the exponential pH sensitivity in the subthreshold regime. Our new device produced in this one-step manner has a great future potential in bioelectronics.

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