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NIRT: Heterogeneous Integration of Nanowires for Chemical Sensor Arrays

Intellectual merit:"Electronic nose"chemical sensor arrays are used to detect trace analytes<br/>in complex mixtures,and are important for environmental,biomedical,process control,and<br/>security-related applications.Scaling chemical sensors to nanometer dimensions will open<br/>unprecedented opportunities for implementation of electronic nose arrays in and-held devices,<br/>remote monitoring,robotics,medical diagnostics,sensor dust,and other novel applications.<br/>To do this,we must create low cost,low power,massively parallel arrays of chemically diverse<br/>nanosensors and integrate them with on-chip data processing.The proposed project will bring<br/>together an interdisciplinary team from three institutions to work on the fundamental problems<br/>connected with this goal.The project combines the expertise of chemists in nanosensor<br/>synthesis,physicists in materials and device characterization,electrical engineers in<br/>heterogeneous integration and test circuit design,and computer scientists in the design,<br/>fabrication,and testing of novel low-power circuit architectures.While this project focuses<br/>specifically on nanosensor arrays,the problems it addresses are generic to the integration of<br/>many different kinds of functional nanoscale objects into silicon-based circuits.<br/>Our approach builds on an existing knowledge base of chemical sensor array platforms and<br/>data analysis methods,to which our team brings some unique new materials and techniques.<br/>Mallouk and Semancik have developed a method for incorporating chemical sensor "stripes"into<br/>template-grown metal nanowires.These nanowires connect the lithographic length scale (micron<br/>nanowire length)with the nanoscale (30-300 nm diameter and stripe length).The synthetic<br/>technique allows the chemical nature of the sensory material to be quite diverse.We will focus<br/>on three different sensor platforms -chemoresistive metal oxides,intrinsically conducting<br/>polymers,and conductive polymer composites -which should provide excellent orthogonality in<br/>sensor arrays.The physical properties of the sensory materials and of the nanowires will be<br/>studied using test structures devised by Evoy and Semancik,focusing in particular on the thermal<br/>and temporal signatures of the nanosensor response.The synthesis and physical<br/>characterization of the nanosensors will be tightly coupled so that a molecular-level<br/>understanding of signal transduction and scaling effects can guide the optimization of the sensors.<br/>Mayer and Evoy have developed an electrofluidic alignment technique for placing nanowires in<br/>lithographically defined circuits.This will be a powerful tool for parallel heterogeneous<br/>integration of the nanosensors into large arrays.Issues of yield,device density,and testing/logic<br/>circuit integration will be addressed through a combined approach of simulation and experiment,<br/>in collaboration with Irwin and Narayanan.Finally,Irwin,Narayanan,and Mayer will design<br/>and test a CMOS sensor processing fabric that efficiently controls the duty cycle of sensor<br/>operation and processes the array response locally.Feedback between device/circuit testing and<br/>nanosensor synthesis and characterization will tie the whole project together.<br/>Broader impact:The NIRT team will apply its diverse scientific background in education<br/>and outreach activities at the graduate,undergraduate,high school,and K-8 levels.The research<br/>program has a strong element of mentoring of women,minorities,undergraduates,and high school<br/>students.It will also provide a cross-disciplinary experience for graduate students through<br/>exchange with partner laboratories.In each summer of the program,NIRT faculty and students<br/>will team with Penn State Action Potential staff to develop a series of 5 th -8 th grade science camps<br/>on different current topics.The unique aspect of these camps is that they bring elementary and<br/>middle school teachers together with students,so that teachers can use new curricular material in<br/>a practical environment.NSF funds will be used to support the participation of teachers from<br/>beyond our local area,to increase the geographic and minority impact of the outreach program.

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