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Nano Sensors

EE 530 Dr. Khan

Patrice Allen, Spoorthi Appireddy, Narmadha Mylsamy, Ramakanth Tatipaka, Izhar Saeed, Vani Yatharla

Nano Sensors
Nano Sensors : electronic and nonelectronic nanoscale elements and functions for sensing interactions WHY study Nano Sensors?
Nanosystem technology enables applications that serve, improve and extend human sensing capabilities

Significance of Nano Sensors

Endless Possibilities Designing sensors at the atomic
level produce new materials with new properties, like surface & quantum effects, that are beneficial to the operation of the sensor

Significance of Nano Sensors

Nano Sensors will revolutionize the measurements of extremely small displacements and extremely weak forces at the molecular scale.

Significance of Nano Sensors

Nano Sensors can now be built with masses of a few attograms (10^ -18 g) and with cross sections of about 10 nm.

Challenges of Nano Sensors

These very small sensors are very sensitive and prone to degradation from effects of foreign substances, and extreme temperatures

Integration software is not fully developed

Nano Sensors
A few types of Nano Sensors.. Motion Optical Radio Frequency

Biomedical Electrical Electrochemical

- Department of Defense - Data Storage - Safety - Space Technology - Communication - Transportation - Security - Medical Research

Motion Sensors to Deploy Airbags

Nano Sensors
Nanotechnology sensor market predicted global revenues :
$2.8 billion in 2008 $17.2 billion in 2012

Nano Sensor Market

Nano Sensors

Types of Nano Sensors

(Individual Presentations)




Topics of Discussion
Introduction Fabrication Core Components of RF MEMS Technology Applications



RF MEMS are Microsystems for radio frequency and millimeter wave applications Switches, capacitors, inductors, resonators, varactors etc All these devices are prime candidates to expand wireless application

RF MEMS Market

Methods of Fabrication
Bulk Micromachining Surface micromachining LIGA

Bulk Micromachining
Bulk micromachining defines structures by selectively etching inside a substrate. This type of etching is inexpensive and is generally used in early and low-budget research.

Bulk Micromachining

Bulk Micromachining

Surface micromachining is based on the deposition and etching of different structural layers. The success is based on the ability to release/dissolve the sacrificial layers while preserving the integrity of the structural Layers.

Surface Micromachining

Surface Micromachining
Surface micromachining starts with a silicon wafer or other substrate and grows layers on top Layers are selectively etched by photolithography and either a wet etch involving an acid or a dry etch involving a ionized gas, or plasma

Surface Micromachining

LIGA is German Acronym Three words LI , G , A LI means lithography (x-ray) G means electrodeposition A means molding

Thick photoresists are exposed to X-ray to produce molds Which are subsequently used to form high aspect ratio electroplated 3-D structures


Main components
RF/IF band filters RF voltage controlled oscillators Quartz crystal oscillators Solid state switches



Radio Architecture

Core Components Affecting RF MEMS Functionality

MEMS variable Capacitors Micromachined Inductors MEMS Switches MEMS Resonators

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MEMS Variable Capacitors

Critical for Low noise VCOs, Antenna tunning, tunnable matching networks On chip silicon PN junction and MOS based variable capacitors had low quality factor, limited tunning range MEMS technology demonstrated monolithic variable capacitors, achieving Stringent performance



Variable Capacitor




Achieves nominal capacitance value of 2pf Tuning range of 15% with 3V Quality factor of 62 at 1GHz compared to 10 (on-chip silicon PN junction and MOS based)

Micromachined Inductors
Key components for making low noise oscillators and low loss matching networks Micromachining technology enabled less loss of current High Q factor and high self-resonant frequency

Inductor figure
Copper is selected as the interconnect metal Consists of 4 turn 5 um Cu traces 650um/500um area 14nH inductance with Q of 16 at 1 GHz

More Inductors

MEMS Switches
Key components for switching between receiver and transmitter signal paths Critical for building phase shifters, tunable antennas, and filters MEMS switches have two categories

Categories of Switches


Capacitive switch
Consists of conductive membrane made of aluminum Suspended above a coplanar electrode by air gap of few um

Capacitive switch
When on, small capacitance, hence minimum high frequency signal coupling between the electrodes When off, switch provides large capacitance due to this dielectric layer, causing strong signal coupling.

Capacitive switch

Metal-to-Metal Switch
For large bandwidth signals including DC Consists of cantilever beam Actuation voltage of 30V Response time 20us Mechanical strength to withstand 10^9 actuations

Summary of RF MEMS

Summary contd..

Cell phones Cordless phones Wireless data networks Sensor networks Two way paging Global positioning systems Satellites


Optical Nanosensors
Optical nanosensors have been designed to utilize the sensitivity of fluorescence for making quantitative measurements in the intracellular environment. Devices used are small enough to be inserted into living cells with a minimum of physical perturbation.

Optical fiber based sensors

Why nanosensors?
Minimal physical perturbation of the cell Small sensor size enables rapid measurement

Advantages Over Fluorescent dyes

protection of the interfering species environment and protection of the from any toxic component. sensing component from within the intracellular intracellular environment effects of the sensing

Concept of Nanosensor for Single Cell Analysis

Fabrication of Nanotips (600m 50 nm) Silver Coating(100-200 nm) Silanization of Fiber nanotips (GOPS) Activation of Fiber nanotips (CDI) Protein Binding (e.g., mouse IgG for BaP)

Optical Nanosensors - PEBBLEs

PEBBLE stands for Probe Encapsulated By Biologically Localized Embedding. It is composed of a polymer matrix incorporated with fluorescent indicator dyes. These have been developed for several analytes, including calcium, pH, potassium and oxygen. These show good reversibility and are biocompatible.

Schematic of a generic PEBBLE sensor

Features of PEBBLE
Small nanometer sized sensors. Polymeric matrix containing combination of indicator dyes, reference dyes and catalysts. Enable intra-cellular biological measurements to be made. Can be inserted into cells without causing mortality. Allow use of dyes normally toxic to cells. Fast response time.

Nanosensor Preparation

PEBBLE Delivery Techniques

Sensor development summary


systems using immobilized novel biorecognition molecules Use of micrometer sized fiber tips for chemical sensing Production and characterization of nanometer sized sensors and their response to oxygen, zinc and glucose Delivery of PEBBLE nanosensors into single living cells Applications for intracellular analysis

Further Work
Nanosensor development Extend range of analytes that can be detected Develop generic methods for applying nanosensors to cell systems Improve delivery techniques Targeted delivery of sensors using surface functionality Bi-functional nano-devices Real-time, multi-analyte quantification and imaging in a single living cell

Optical Nanosensor Applications

Diagnosis and monitoring of diseases. Environmental detection of pollutants and biological agents. Useful for quantitative measurements in intracellular environment. Optical sensors provide useful tools for remote in situ monitoring. Optical nanosensors increase the ability of investigators to probe . Image and quantify NO levels present in Parkinsons disease. Measure Zinc production and localization in brain tissue. Use nano-devices to induce and measure the chemical signals of apoptosis. Study early-embryo development.



A biosensor is a device that detects, records, and transmits information regarding a physiological change or the presence of various chemical or biological materials in the environment. More technically, a biosensor is a probe that integrates a biological component, such as a whole bacterium or a biological product (e.g., an enzyme or antibody) with an electronic component to yield a measurable signal. Biosensors, which come in a large variety of sizes and shapes, are used to monitor changes in environmental conditions. They can detect and measure concentrations of specific bacteria or hazardous chemicals; they can measure acidity levels (pH). In short, biosensors can use bacteria and detect them, too.

What is a biomedical sensor?

A biomedical sensor often engages a biorecognition process, which involves the analyte or the substrate. The results of this biorecognition will have to be transmitted to the external world for the quantification of the analyte or the substrate. The transduction mechanism often involves a chemical sensing element, and the signal output can be a color change, an optical or electrical signal, potential, current or others. example: Enzymatic based sensor

Electrochemical sensors MOS material based sensors Schottky diode based sensors Calorimetric sensors Quartz crystal micro-balance (QCM) based sensors Optical fiber technology

Silicon-based microfabrication and micromachining processing have been used extensively in the production of microelectronic and MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) devices. These fabrication techniques can be used to produce geometrically well-defined, highly reproducible structures at modest cost. Furthermore, these processes can be applied to metals, semiconductive and insulation materials providing an excellent means to produce desired sensing elements.


Lithographic reduction and mask fabrication Formation of oxide layer Thick and thin film metallization Photo-resist patterning Wet chemical and dry reactive ion etching

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Medical Telesensor Microcantilever Sensor Optical Biopsy Sensor Bioreporter Infrared Microspectrometer DNA Analysis: Serg-surface Enhanced Raman Gene Probe Anthropometry

1.This Medical telesensor can measure & transmit body temperature wirelessly

2. Microcantilever sensor can detect physical, chemical, or biological activity

3. Optical biopsy sensor: New laser technique for nonsurgically determining whether tumors in the esophagus are cancerous or benign

4. Bioreporters: "critters on a chip" in which bioluminescent bacteria signal the presence of pollutants.

5. The infrared microspectrometer can be used for blood chemistry analysis, gasoline octane analysis, environmental monitoring, industrial process control, aircraft corrosion monitoring, and detection of chemical warfare agents

6. surface-enhanced Raman gene (SERG) probes used in medicine, forensics, agriculture, and environmental bioremediation.

7. Anthropometry: technique using laser beams and mirrors can determine the shapes of human body parts.

The whole health care chain, from doctors office, hospital to recreation services e.g.home based care / monitoring of patients with chronic diseases. Emergency medicine / monitoring of injured and acute ill patient is also part of the chain. Biodefence / monitoring humans for the presence of toxic agents

Usability; biomedical sensors must be easy to wear, easy to use Implants; chips implanted in the body meet a number of challenges, both technical and ethical Wireless technology; user friendly biomedical sensors require wireless communication solutions Reliability; the solutions must operate at all time under all conditions specified Security; sensordata may be sensitive personal information and the solutions must provide personal integrity Scalability and flexibility; the system must accommodate different users, environments and usage Communication infrastructure; monitoring applications require an established communication infrastructure between patient/biosensor host and healthcare personnel in charge

Thermal Sensors by Manjula Vani Yatharla J00296753

In many physical phenomena heat is exchanged. This goes together with heat fluxes and changes of temperature. Thermal sensors serve to measure those two quantities. When applied in the appropriate way, not only heat flux and temperature but also a number of other quantities can be measured, for example radiation and the flow of liquids and gasses.

Extreme stability No moving parts Large dynamic range Little or no energy consumption

Thermal Sensor Technology

In thermal sensors an input physical or chemical signal creates or changes a temperature gradient in a functional structure. This gradient or its change can be detected by applying an appropriate physical effect, e.g., the Seebeck effect, the thermoresistive effect or the pyroelectric effect, converting the temperature change into an output electrical signal.

Examples for micromachined thermal sensors are radiation sensors (thermopiles, bolometers, and pyroelectric sensors), microcalorimeters, humidity sensors, vacuum and flow sensors as well as thermal converters. As microsensors these devices are of small size and their manufacture is based principally on the concepts of microsystem technologies, e.g., silicon microstructuring technology, thin film deposition methods, packaging and interconnection technologies as well as monolithic or hybrid integration of electronic signal processing. Moreover the small size of a micromachined sensor encourages the creation of sensor arrays, i.e., one-dimensional (linear) or two-dimensional (matrix) arrangements of a number of individual sensors.

Regarding thermal sensors such multi-element arrangement makes sense above all with radiation sensors, where the simultaneous detection of the spatial distribution of an input signal field is convenient for scanning or imaging purposes. As a main advantage, radiation sensor arrays based on the thermal principle require no cooling of the detector elements. They have been realized as linear thermopile, bolometer, and pyroelectric arrays and as matrix arrangements of thermopiles, bolometers, pyroelectric sensors. The two-dimensional arrays are often called uncooled focal plane arrays (FPA) due to their application in infrared imaging.

The principle of a thermal infrared sensor is shown below. A tiny thin plate (i.e., platelet) is made on a silicon wafer in a silicon foundry by a micro-machining process. The platelet is typically 50 m (microns) square by 0.5 m thick. Even smaller sizes are under development. Long thin support legs and a vacuum environment thermally isolates it from the substrate. Small thermal radiation from the target focused onto the platelet heats it. The higher the target temperature, the greater the focused radiation is and therefore the higher the platelet temperature.

The temperature of the platelet and therefore the intensity of the radiation can be measured by the change in resistance of an electrical resistor deposited on the platelet -- the microbolometer sensor. It can be measured by a thermocouple with the hot junction on the platelet and the reference junction on the substrate -- the thermoelectric sensor. Or it can be measured by an electrical capacitance effect -- the pyroelectric sensor.

Heat flux Heat flux through walls, roofs and floors of buildings for efficient use of energy. Heat flux through soil for applications in agriculture and analysis of crop growth conditions. Heat flux from living beings to their surroundings for medical studies.

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Radiation * Solar radiation for optimal control of solar collectors. * Heat radiation of ovens for optimization of process conditions. * Laser power measurement.

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Mass flow & heat transfer coefficients Wind speed, particularly at low speeds in indoor climate measurement. Mass flow in pipes. Studies of heat transfer in drying processes, building physics etc. Thermal properties of materials Thermal conductivity Thermal diffusivity

Applications of Thermal Sensors in different fields Steel and Metals Applications The Steel Industry was one of the first to use temperature sensors for automatic process control and QA measurements. The extent of temperature sensor use in steel mills and process plants is quite large. Virtually all kinds are used, ranging from liquidin-glass thermometers in the testing and QA labs to networked infrared line-measuring sensors called "line scanners" and computer-linked thermal imaging versions of area-measuring infrared thermometers for detecting slag on the stream of liquid steel poured from a melting vessel into a transfer ladle.

Environmental Temperatures around the Planet The world and the various environmental factors that exist are regularly probed, prodded, surveyed and reported on in terms of weather reports, global warming (or cooling) phenomena and more. The sea surface temperature (SST) is monitored from satellites and ships at sea. Land and atmosphere temperatures are similarly reported and recorded. It seems to be an extensive use of temperature sensors of all types (satellites, use non-contact sensor to read the earth surface).

Medical Temperature Sensors and Their Uses The fever thermometer is still in abundant supply and still the second most frequent test used (after a hand on the forehead) to indicate the presence of an infection in the human body by noting an elevation in body temperature. Human and animal body temperatures are so important to the well being of warm blooded animals, that the nominal body temperature indicated by a fever thermometer or similar device, is used as one of the vital signs routinely monitored as an indicator of a state of a person's or animal's health.

Infrared Radiation Thermometer Applications Repository Infrared radiation thermometers measure temperature without contact. The object being measured essentially broadcasts information about its temperature all the time. The physics behind that broadcasting is called Planck's Law of Thermal Radiation. Some thermal imagers also measure temperature and, despite the fact that they measure temperature in the same way as spot radiation thermometers.

A radiation thermometer collects some of the broadcast radiation, and, if done with reasonable care can measure the temperature of the object's surface, and for semi-transparent objects, measure the temperature within and/or beyond the object. Since a radiation thermometer does not contact the object it is measuring, it does not need to be at the same temperature, thus, it can, in theory, measure very rapidly, measure distant objects, measure moving objects, measure very high temperatures, not interfere with the object's temperature distribution and many more very unique things beyond the limits of, and often competitive with (for accuracy), contact temperature sensors. Radiation thermometers

Special Sensors for Cryogenic Temperatures Many of the more commonly used temperature sensors are also used for work at cryogenic temperatures, e.g. most thermocouples, platinum RTDs, silicon diodes and special thermistors. However, in the very low reaches of the temperature scales, there are some unique measurements made. Not only are they all very cold, but there are situations when the temperature sensor is immersed in a strong magnetic field and/or a radio-frequency field. This gives rise to a need not only for sensors that can measure at very, very low temperatures, but also sensors that are not affected by the presence of a magnetic field or a radio-frequency electromagnetic field

Food Temperature Sensors and Their Uses The temperature of food plays a big role in assuring that certain products are well enough cooked to kill harmful organisms like bacteria. Similarly, many foods, including cooked food, become breeding grounds for other harmful organisms if unrefrigerated too long or even if left in a refrigerated environment for too long a time.

Silicon micromachined infrared (IR) thermopile sensors have expanding opportunities in a wide range of applications, such as consumer (e.g., ear thermometers, hair dryers, microwave ovens, air conditioners), automotive (e.g., climate control, windshield de-icing and anti-condensation systems, presence and position detection, air quality control/CO2 monitoring), and infrared-based gas detection. Silicon micromachined thermopiles are comprised of numerous thermocouples, and generate a voltage proportional to the object's incident infrared radiation power. Since every object emits IR radiation, which is a strict function of its temperature, one can deduce the object's temperature from the thermopile's signal.

The penetration of silicon micromachined thermopiles and other IR thermal sensors (e.g., pyroelectric detectors) into high-volume, lowcost applications (e.g., consumer or automotive) has been spearheaded by the availability of less expensive optics, made of plastic molded mirrors or micromachined lenses. Moreover, silicon micromachined thermopile technology is well-suited for high-volume, lowcost applications. Silicon-based thermopiles are fabricated via CMOS processes, which can achieve low cost by using microelectronics batch fabrication techniques.

Thermopile sensors can sense static IR radiation and, therefore, can make static temperature measurements without requiring a mechanical chopper. Compared to photonic detectors (which use semiconductors, and are based on a change in electrical conductivity induced by incident IR radiation), thermopiles purportedly offer nearly constant sensitivity and specific detectivity over IR spectrum, which makes the thermopile a highly suitable detector for IR gas absorption instruments.

Conclusion Thermal sensors are very much useful in many industries because of the necessity of the temperature measurement. This is still a developing field and we have to explore a lot of things in thermal nanosensors.

Nano Motion Sensors

Devices used to detect nanoscale motion and position displacement Typical Devices
Accelerometers detects change in acceleration in x, y, and z planes Gyros detects changes in pitch and yaw

Interferometric Accelerometer
Optical interference transducer Interdigital fingers attached to mass and support substrate are illuminated Measures nanoscale displacement by measuring intensity of diffracted light

Motion Sensors - Fabrication

Thermal oxide grown and patterned with 1 m of resist and plasma etched on device layer side Device layer silicon is deep reactive ion etched (DRIE) to Buried oxide layer
This defines the fingers, springs and mass

Motion Sensors - Fabrication

Resist is stripped and wafer is spun with 20 m of polyimide on device layer side then cured at 350 C for 30 minutes Backside of wafer patterned with 10 m of resist, then exposed oxide is removed in buffered oxide etchant (BOE), then exposed handle layer is etched down to the oxide layer to define the mass

Motion Sensors - Fabrication

Backside thermal oxide and exposed buried oxide removed Polyimide etched away in oxygen plasma

Motion Sensors - Applications

Naval Research Laboratory
Fiber Optic Interferometric Accelerometers
Detection Limit: 5-300 nano-g Low sensitivity to electromagnetic interference Used for navigation, exploration, and monitoring

Motion Sensors - Applications

Si - Flex Accelerometer Uses
Detecting seismic reflections in oil and gas explorations Military surveillance Mapping and recording earthquakes

The Future of Motion Nano Sensors

Future efforts are being focused on packaging the interferometric accelerometer within a volume of less than 10 cm.

The Future of Motion Nano Sensors

CRADA with Lockheed Martin
Micro accelerometer with 3 translation, 3 rotational measurement axes Uses high aspect ratio electroplated copper coils to levitate permanent magnets attached to a cubical proof mass

The Future of Motion Nano Sensors

High Speed X-ray Detector Array
High aspect ratio fabrication Both one dimensional and two dimensional position sensitive detector arrays

Conclusions Sensors Covered

Biomedical Motion Optical Radio Frequency

Due to technological constraints, microscale sensors can no longer be miniaturized in their same form. New technologies are being developed to exploit the quantum effects present in nanotechnology. Nanosensors will continued to be explored for these reasons.

Motion Sensors - References

[1] Loh, Nin C., Manalis, Scott R., Schmidt, Martin A. Sub-10 cm Interferometric Accelerometer with Nano-g Resolution. Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, Vol. 11, No. 3. June 2002 2] , Applied MEMS, Inc. [3], Capacitive Sensors for Noncontact Position and Displacement Measurements and Nano-Positioning. ChenYang - Sensors, Magnetics, and Measurements ISM. [4] , Brookhaven National Laboratory, Instrumentation Division. [5] , MIT Media Laboratory, Nanoscale Sensing. [6] , Naval Research Laboratory, Selected Technologies

RF MEMS References
Randy J. R, Hector J. D MEMS for RF/Microwave Wireless Applications: The next Wave, Microwave Journal, 2001. RF MEMS Markets, Siebe B, Mark D S, Gerold S, Mecro Electromechanical Systems Move towards Standardization, Coventor Inc. Randy J.R, Hector J S, MEMS FOR RF/MICROWAVE WIRELESS APPLICATIONS: THE NEXT WAVE, Coventor Inc.

Optical Sensors - References

1.Optical Nanosensors: Tools for Intra-cellular Analysis By Dr. Jonathan Aylott 2. Advanced Biophotonics Biophotonics Sensors Sensors for Environmental and Biomedical Applications for Environmental and Biomedical Applications anSlides.pdf

Biomedical Sensors - References

1. 2. 11977.pdf 3. 4. 5. biosens.htm 6. course1.html