Heterogeneous integration of graphene and Si CMOS for gas sensing applications
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Detecting presence of gas molecules is of prominent importance for controlling chemical processes, safety systems, and industrial and medical applications. Despite enormous progress in this field over past few decades on developing and improving various types of gas sensors, sensors with higher sensitivity, selectivity, lower sensing limit, and lower cost that can perform at room temperature are highly sought-after. Discovery of graphene and its succeeding progress in nanotechnology has paved the way to design ultra-sensitive gas sensors that can detect individual gas molecules while operating at room temperature. Graphene is a promising candidate for gas sensing applications due to its unique transport properties, exceptionally high surface-to-volume ratio, and low electrical noise. In this dissertation, a graphene gas sensor fully integrated with silicon CMOS platform is presented, and its performance for detecting NO₂ and NH₃ gas molecules is investigated. This integration helps benefit the high gas sensitivity of graphene at room temperature as well as the compact size, robustness, low cost, and advantages of standard industrial scale production of CMOS technology. Recent progress in large scale growth of CVD graphene paves the path toward commercialization of graphene-based CMOS sensors to provide highly sensitive low-cost sensors for industrial applications. To best of our knowledge, this work is the first integration of mono-layer graphene and silicon CMOS. Also, this is the first implementation of graphene integrated gas sensor. Heterogeneous integration of monolayer graphene and silicon CMOS can introduce a platform to exploit the unique electronic properties of monolayer graphene for gas sensing applications and also take a step further toward commercialization of ultrasensitive monolithic graphene-based gas sensors. Furthermore, we were able to enhance sensitivity of CVD graphene to NH₃ by almost an order of magnitude. We experimentally showed that sensitivity of graphene to NH₃ can be enhanced by 7 folds compared to as-fabricated graphene by introducing NO₂ molecules as dopants. We observed this enhancement for graphene sensors microfabricated on SiO₂/Si substrate, as well as our integrated graphene-CMOS sensors. This finding not only increases current understanding on adsorption mechanisms of molecules to graphene, but also takes another step toward commercialization of graphene sensors.