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Sci Rep. 2013;3:1161. doi: 10.1038/srep01161. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

Addressing reliability and degradation of chemitransistor sensors by electrical tuning of the sensitivity.

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Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell'Informazione: Elettronica, Informatica , Telecomunicazioni, Via G. Caruso 16, 56122 Pisa, Italy.


Here we show that electrical tuning of the sensitivity of chemitransistor sensors, namely field-effect-transistors (FETs) exploiting nano/mesostructured sensing materials, can be used to effectively address two chief problems of state-of-the-art gas sensors, specifically fabrication reliability and degradation by aging. Both experimental evidences and theoretical calculations are provided to support such a result, using as a case-of-study junction field-effect-transistors (JFETs) exploiting mesostructured porous silicon (PS) as sensing material (PSJFETs) for the detection of nitrogen dioxide (NO(2)) at hundreds ppb. Proof of concept is given by fully compensating the effect of fabrication errors on the sensitivity of two PSJFETs integrated on the same chip, which, though identical in principle, feature sensitivities to NO(2) differing from about 30% before compensation. Although here-demonstrated for the specific case of PSJFETs, the concept of sensor reliability/aging problem compensation by sensitivity electrical-tuning can be applied to other chemitransistor sensors that exploit sensing materials different than PS.

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