The electrostatically formed nanowire: A novel platform for gas-sensing applications

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13 Scopus citations


The electrostatically formed nanowire (EFN) gas sensor is based on a multiple-gate field-effect transistor with a conducting nanowire, which is not defined physically; rather, the nanowire is defined electrostatically post-fabrication, by using appropriate biasing of the different surrounding gates. The EFN is fabricated by using standard silicon processing technologies with relaxed design rules and, thereby, supports the realization of a low-cost and robust gas sensor, suitable for mass production. Although the smallest lithographic definition is higher than half a micrometer, appropriate tuning of the biasing of the gates concludes a conducting channel with a tunable diameter, which can transform the conducting channel into a nanowire with a diameter smaller than 20 nm. The tunable size and shape of the nanowire elicits tunable sensing parameters, such as sensitivity, limit of detection, and dynamic range, such that a single EFN gas sensor can perform with high sensitivity and a broad dynamic range by merely changing the biasing configuration. The current work reviews the design of the EFN gas sensor, its fabrication considerations and process flow, means of electrical characterization, and preliminary sensing performance at room temperature, underlying the unique and advantageous tunable capability of the device.

Original languageEnglish
Article number471
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Electrostatically formed nanowire
  • Ethanol
  • Gas sensor
  • Kelvin probe force microscopy
  • Silicon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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