27 August 2014 Mass sensing AlN sensors for waste water monitoring
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Monitoring the presence of nanomaterials in waste water from semiconductor facilities is a critical task for public health organizations. Advanced semiconductor technology allows the fabrication of sensitive piezoelectric-based mass sensors with a detection limit of less than 1.35 ng/cm2 of nanomaterials such as nanoparticles of alumina, amorphous silica, ceria, etc. The interactions between acoustic waves generated by the piezoelectric sensor and nanomaterial mass attached to its surface define the sensing response as a shift in the resonant frequency. In this article the development and characterization of a prototype AlN film bulk acoustic resonator (FBAR) are presented. DC reactive magnetron sputtering was used to create tilted c-axis oriented AlN films to generate shear waves which don’t propagate in liquids thus minimizing the acoustic losses. The high acoustic velocity of AlN over quartz allows an increase in resonance frequency in comparison with a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) and results in a higher frequency shift per mass change, and thus greater sensitivity. The membrane and electrodes were fabricated using state of the art semiconductor technology. The device surface functionalization was performed to demonstrate selectivity towards a specific nanomaterial. As a result, the devices were covered with a “docking” layer that allows the nanomaterials to be selectively attached to the surface. This was achieved using covalent modification of the surface, specifically targeting ZnO nanoparticles. Our functionalization approach was tested using two different types of nanoparticles, and binding specificity was confirmed with various analytical techniques.
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R. Porrazzo, R. Porrazzo, G. Potter, G. Potter, L. Lydecker, L. Lydecker, Z. Foraida, Z. Foraida, S. Gattu, S. Gattu, N. Tokranova, N. Tokranova, J. Castracane, J. Castracane, "Mass sensing AlN sensors for waste water monitoring", Proc. SPIE 9173, Instrumentation, Metrology, and Standards for Nanomanufacturing, Optics, and Semiconductors VIII, 91730E (27 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2061966; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2061966

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