|This section focuses on sensors related technologies and innovation. It showcases some of the more recent calls for joint research and development projects, pilot projects, tenders and calls for support. The section is open for submission.|
Powerful Nanowire-based Sensors and the Possibility to Commercialize Them
With many unique properties and promising functions, nanowires and nanowire-based devices have been extensively studied around the world recently. To imagine about how small the nanowire is; your hair has a diameter of 50.000 – 100.000 nm, while nanowires have been defined as wires with at least one dimension in the range of 1-100 nm. It means that you have to bundle at least ca. 1000000 nanowires together to have the size of your hair.
A major difference of materials in the nanowire form is that materials are mostly distributed on a surface, leading to an ultrahigh surface-to-volume ratio. This fact makes many new phenomena like the quantum confinement effect inside the nanowires take place easily. Also, surface processess like adsorption and desorption now have pronounced influence to nanowire properties, e.g., to nanowire resistance. As a result, this new shape of materials - the nanowires - exhibits a variety of interesting and fascinating properties, and may function as the building blocks for nanoscale electronics, nanooptics, and especially for nanosensing technology etc. For instance, in comparison with conventional gas sensors that need to be operated at high temperature, semiconducting oxide nanowire gas sensors can be operated at room temperature (for low power consumption) and quickly detect various gases at concentrations of parts per million (ppm), or even parts per billion (ppb). Another example is the single crystalline silicon nanowire FET sensor which has been used recently to detect (bio-) chemical species at very low concentrations, even at ultimate molecular level: single viruses and bacteria, DNA and DNA sequence variations, small molecule-protein interactions etc., can now be detected. In addition, the sensor allows real-time and online detection with a quick response time. These new capabilities are a great development in the sensor field, and are beyond what conventional (bio) sensors can do. The newly developed sensor has thus opened up many new research possibilities and practical applications in many fields, including important and quickly developed sectors like health care, life sciences, pharmacy, and biotechnology, and (bio-) chemical warfare.
General speaking, all these capabilities of nanowire sensors are beyond that of conventional sensors.
Although nanowire-based devices possess a variety of interesting properties and promising functions, the development for industrial products and commercialization of nanowires have been relatively slow, due to difficulties associated with the synthesis of such nanostructures with well-controlled size, phase purity, crystallinity, chemical composition, and especially an integration of individual nanowires into complete devices in mass production process.
Recently, using the latest advances in semiconductor techniques, our company, the Nanosens, is able to produce silicon chips containing highly uniform, long, and small nanowires of various materials. The nanowire chips have macro contact electrodes at both ends of the nanowires, allowing them to be easily connected to the outer-world, e.g., the control electronics. Also, we can provide individually electrical address for each wire from the array. This is crucial for making integrated sensor arrays for multiple detections. We call these chips “nanowire chips, ready for applications”. Please visit our webpage (Nanosens.nl) for detail information of the nanowire chips. The product displayed on the our current webpage (Nanosens.nl) is one of the first products among a much wider family of nanowire products of different wire sizes, wire densities, and wire materials, and wire configuration. For example, we make a Nanowire Field Effect Transistor Sensor ( Nanowire FET ) that integrated with microfluidics flow channels (for liquid/gas handling) etc. Most importantly, we use various nanofabrication tools together with several our own innovative processes to make the nanowire chips inexpensive. Therefore, we strongly believe that we have a great opportunity to work on and commercialize nanowire-based nanosensors.
Currently, we would like to cooperate with companies, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), universities, and research institutes to work on and commercialize the following nanowire-based sensor applications:
(1) Biological and chemical sensors for life sciences and health care (medicine), security (warfare), and water control.
(2) Gas sensors for pollution control, safety and health.
(3) Automotive sensors.
Collaboration sought: Financial support; License agreement; Joint venture agreement; Dealers and distributors agreements; Manufacturing agreement, Further research or development on applications of nanowires in optics, magnetics, electronics etc.
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Dr.ir. Hien Duy Tong
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