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Silicon nanowire resonators: Aerosol nanoparticle mass sensing in the workplace

: Wasisto, H.S.; Merzsch, S.; Stranz, A.; Waag, A.; Uhde, E.; Salthammer, T.; Peiner, E.


IEEE nanotechnology magazine 7 (2013), Nr.2, S.18-23
ISSN: 1932-4510
Fraunhofer WKI ()

In this article, WE FOCUS ON silicon nanowire (SiNW)-based resonators that were fabricated and employed to sense aerosol nanoparticles (NPs) by measuring resonant frequency shifts induced by the mass of stuck NPs. The fabrication of SiNW arrays was performed using inductively coupled plasma (ICP) cryogenic dry etching and multiple thermal oxidations. The SiNWs were coated with gold (Au) for contacting to the homebuilt electrostatic NP sampler to collect the flowing NPs. A piezoelectric shear actuator mounted in the frequency measurement system was used to excite the SiNW sensors into resonance. Tested in a titanium dioxide (TiO2) aerosol sampling with a total concentration of ~8,500 NPs/cm3, the sensor displayed its feasibility as a nanobalance to detect aerosol NPs in the femtogram scale with a mass sensitivity of 7.1 Hz/fg and a mass resolution of 31.6 fg. To extend the operating life of the sensor, an ultrasonic removal method was used to detach the adhered NPs.