The evolution of nanotechnology based sensors has enabled detection of ultra-low-level concentrations of target species owing to their high aspect ratio. However, these sensors have a limited dynamic range at room temperature characterized by saturation in the sensor response following certain concentration exposure. In this work, we show that the dynamic range towards a target gas can be significantly enhanced using the electrostatically formed nanowire sensor. The size and shape of the nanowire conducting channel are defined and tuned by controlling the bias applied to the surrounding gates. The nanowires thus formed vary in their response, detection limit, and dynamic range for a given target gas exposure depending on its size and shape. By electrostatically tuning to the appropriate nanowire, we can not only enhance the sensor response in the low concentration regime, but also broaden the overall dynamic range capacity using a single sensor. It is demonstrated that the sensor is capable of detecting ∼26-2030 ppm ethanol and ∼40-2800 ppm of acetone efficiently with reasonably high response (≥20%) throughout the whole range. The broad dynamic range concept is also demonstrated using scanning gate microscopy measurements of the device. This represents the first nanotechnology-inspired work towards tunable dynamic range of a sensor using a single electronic device.
- chemical sensor
- dynamic range
- electrostatically formed nanowire
- gas sensor
- volatile organic compounds