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1.  A Comprehensive Review of One-Dimensional Metal-Oxide Nanostructure Photodetectors 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2009;9(8):6504-6529.
One-dimensional (1D) metal-oxide nanostructures are ideal systems for exploring a large number of novel phenomena at the nanoscale and investigating size and dimensionality dependence of nanostructure properties for potential applications. The construction and integration of photodetectors or optical switches based on such nanostructures with tailored geometries have rapidly advanced in recent years. Active 1D nanostructure photodetector elements can be configured either as resistors whose conductions are altered by a charge-transfer process or as field-effect transistors (FET) whose properties can be controlled by applying appropriate potentials onto the gates. Functionalizing the structure surfaces offers another avenue for expanding the sensor capabilities. This article provides a comprehensive review on the state-of-the-art research activities in the photodetector field. It mainly focuses on the metal oxide 1D nanostructures such as ZnO, SnO2, Cu2O, Ga2O3, Fe2O3, In2O3, CdO, CeO2, and their photoresponses. The review begins with a survey of quasi 1D metal-oxide semiconductor nanostructures and the photodetector principle, then shows the recent progresses on several kinds of important metal-oxide nanostructures and their photoresponses and briefly presents some additional prospective metal-oxide 1D nanomaterials. Finally, the review is concluded with some perspectives and outlook on the future developments in this area.
PMCID: PMC3312456  PMID: 22454597
metal oxide semiconductor; one-dimensional nanostructures; sensor; photodetector; transistor
2.  Gas Sensors Based on Semiconducting Nanowire Field-Effect Transistors 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2014;14(9):17406-17429.
One-dimensional semiconductor nanostructures are unique sensing materials for the fabrication of gas sensors. In this article, gas sensors based on semiconducting nanowire field-effect transistors (FETs) are comprehensively reviewed. Individual nanowires or nanowire network films are usually used as the active detecting channels. In these sensors, a third electrode, which serves as the gate, is used to tune the carrier concentration of the nanowires to realize better sensing performance, including sensitivity, selectivity and response time, etc. The FET parameters can be modulated by the presence of the target gases and their change relate closely to the type and concentration of the gas molecules. In addition, extra controls such as metal decoration, local heating and light irradiation can be combined with the gate electrode to tune the nanowire channel and realize more effective gas sensing. With the help of micro-fabrication techniques, these sensors can be integrated into smart systems. Finally, some challenges for the future investigation and application of nanowire field-effect gas sensors are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4208231  PMID: 25232915
gas sensors; semiconducting nanowires; field effect transistors
3.  Protein Biosensors Based on Polymer Nanowires, Carbon Nanotubes and Zinc Oxide Nanorods 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2011;11(5):5087-5111.
The development of biosensors using electrochemical methods is a promising application in the field of biotechnology. High sensitivity sensors for the bio-detection of proteins have been developed using several kinds of nanomaterials. The performance of the sensors depends on the type of nanostructures with which the biomaterials interact. One dimensional (1-D) structures such as nanowires, nanotubes and nanorods are proven to have high potential for bio-applications. In this paper we review these three different kinds of nanostructures that have attracted much attention at recent times with their great performance as biosensors. Materials such as polymers, carbon and zinc oxide have been widely used for the fabrication of nanostructures because of their enhanced performance in terms of sensitivity, biocompatibility, and ease of preparation. Thus we consider polymer nanowires, carbon nanotubes and zinc oxide nanorods for discussion in this paper. We consider three stages in the development of biosensors: (a) fabrication of biomaterials into nanostructures, (b) alignment of the nanostructures and (c) immobilization of proteins. Two different methods by which the biosensors can be developed at each stage for all the three nanostructures are examined. Finally, we conclude by mentioning some of the major challenges faced by many researchers who seek to fabricate biosensors for real time applications.
PMCID: PMC3231366  PMID: 22163892
biosensor; nanostructures; electrochemical; immobilization
4.  Hydrothermal Synthesis and Acetylene Sensing Properties of Variety Low Dimensional Zinc Oxide Nanostructures 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:489170.
Various morphologies of low dimensional ZnO nanostructures, including spheres, rods, sheets, and wires, were successfully synthesized using a simple and facile hydrothermal method assisted with different surfactants. Zinc acetate dihydrate was chosen as the precursors of ZnO nanostructures. We found that polyethylene glycol (PEG), polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), glycine, and ethylene glycol (EG) play critical roles in the morphologies and microstructures of the synthesized nanostructures, and a series of possible growth processes were discussed in detail. Gas sensors were fabricated using screen-printing technology, and their sensing properties towards acetylene gas (C2H2), one of the most important arc discharge characteristic gases dissolved in oil-filled power equipments, were systematically measured. The ZnO nanowires based sensor exhibits excellent C2H2 sensing behaviors than those of ZnO nanosheets, nanorods, and nanospheres, indicating a feasible way to develop high-performance C2H2 gas sensor for practical application.
PMCID: PMC3926247  PMID: 24672324
5.  Plasmonic Nanoparticles and Nanowires: Design, Fabrication and Application in Sensing 
This study involves two aspects of our investigations of plasmonics-active systems: (i) theoretical and simulation studies and (ii) experimental fabrication of plasmonics-active nanostructures. Two types of nanostructures are selected as the model systems for their unique plasmonics properties: (1) nanoparticles and (2) nanowires on substrate. Special focus is devoted to regions where the electromagnetic field is strongly concentrated by the metallic nanostructures or between nanostructures. The theoretical investigations deal with dimers of nanoparticles and nanoshells using a semi-analytical method based on a multipole expansion (ME) and the finite-element method (FEM) in order to determine the electromagnetic enhancement, especially at the interface areas of two adjacent nanoparticles. The experimental study involves the design of plasmonics-active nanowire arrays on substrates that can provide efficient electromagnetic enhancement in regions around and between the nanostructures. Fabrication of these nanowire structures over large chip-scale areas (from a few millimeters to a few centimeters) as well as FDTD simulations to estimate the EM fields between the nanowires are described. The application of these nanowire chips using surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) for detection of chemicals and labeled DNA molecules is described to illustrate the potential of the plasmonics chips for sensing.
PMCID: PMC4022305  PMID: 24839505
Plasmonics; surface-enhanced Raman scattering; SERS; gene diagnostics; nanoprobes; metallic nanostructures; molecular sentinel
6.  One-Dimensional Nanostructure Field-Effect Sensors for Gas Detection 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2014;14(8):13999-14020.
Recently; one-dimensional (1D) nanostructure field-effect transistors (FETs) have attracted much attention because of their potential application in gas sensing. Micro/nanoscaled field-effect sensors combine the advantages of 1D nanostructures and the characteristic of field modulation. 1D nanostructures provide a large surface area-volume ratio; which is an outstanding advantage for gas sensors with high sensitivity and fast response. In addition; the nature of the single crystals is favorable for the studies of the response mechanism. On the other hand; one main merit of the field-effect sensors is to provide an extra gate electrode to realize the current modulation; so that the sensitivity can be dramatically enhanced by changing the conductivity when operating the sensors in the subthreshold regime. This article reviews the recent developments in the field of 1D nanostructure FET for gas detection. The sensor configuration; the performance as well as their sensing mechanism are evaluated.
PMCID: PMC4179014  PMID: 25090418
gas sensors; one-dimensional nanostructures; semiconductor; field-effect transistor
7.  Self-Assembled Films of Dendrimers and Metallophthalocyanines as FET-Based Glucose Biosensors 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2011;11(10):9442-9449.
Separative extended gate field effect transistor (SEGFET) type devices have been used as an ion sensor or biosensor as an alternative to traditional ion sensitive field effect transistors (ISFETs) due to their robustness, ease of fabrication, low cost and possibility of FET isolation from the chemical environment. The layer-by-layer technique allows the combination of different materials with suitable properties for enzyme immobilization on simple platforms such as the extended gate of SEGFET devices enabling the fabrication of biosensors. Here, glucose biosensors based on dendrimers and metallophthalocyanines (MPcs) in the form of layer-by-layer (LbL) films, assembled on indium tin oxide (ITO) as separative extended gate material, has been produced. NH3+ groups in the dendrimer allow electrostatic interactions or covalent bonds with the enzyme (glucose oxidase). Relevant parameters such as optimum pH, buffer concentration and presence of serum bovine albumin (BSA) in the immobilization process were analyzed. The relationship between the output voltage and glucose concentration shows that upon detection of a specific analyte, the sub-products of the enzymatic reaction change the pH locally, affecting the output signal of the FET transducer. In addition, dendritic layers offer a nanoporous environment, which may be permeable to H+ ions, improving the sensibility as modified electrodes for glucose biosensing.
PMCID: PMC3231248  PMID: 22163704
glucose biosensor; layer by layer; field effect transistor; enzyme immobilization
8.  Gas Sensors Based on One Dimensional Nanostructured Metal-Oxides: A Review 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2012;12(6):7207-7258.
Recently one dimensional (1-D) nanostructured metal-oxides have attracted much attention because of their potential applications in gas sensors. 1-D nanostructured metal-oxides provide high surface to volume ratio, while maintaining good chemical and thermal stabilities with minimal power consumption and low weight. In recent years, various processing routes have been developed for the synthesis of 1-D nanostructured metal-oxides such as hydrothermal, ultrasonic irradiation, electrospinning, anodization, sol-gel, molten-salt, carbothermal reduction, solid-state chemical reaction, thermal evaporation, vapor-phase transport, aerosol, RF sputtering, molecular beam epitaxy, chemical vapor deposition, gas-phase assisted nanocarving, UV lithography and dry plasma etching. A variety of sensor fabrication processing routes have also been developed. Depending on the materials, morphology and fabrication process the performance of the sensor towards a specific gas shows a varying degree of success. This article reviews and evaluates the performance of 1-D nanostructured metal-oxide gas sensors based on ZnO, SnO2, TiO2, In2O3, WOx, AgVO3, CdO, MoO3, CuO, TeO2 and Fe2O3. Advantages and disadvantages of each sensor are summarized, along with the associated sensing mechanism. Finally, the article concludes with some future directions of research.
PMCID: PMC3435973  PMID: 22969344
gas sensor; one dimensional nanostructures; metal-oxides
9.  Metal Oxide Nanosensors Using Polymeric Membranes, Enzymes and Antibody Receptors as Ion and Molecular Recognition Elements 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2014;14(5):8605-8632.
The concept of recognition and biofunctionality has attracted increasing interest in the fields of chemistry and material sciences. Advances in the field of nanotechnology for the synthesis of desired metal oxide nanostructures have provided a solid platform for the integration of nanoelectronic devices. These nanoelectronics-based devices have the ability to recognize molecular species of living organisms, and they have created the possibility for advanced chemical sensing functionalities with low limits of detection in the nanomolar range. In this review, various metal oxides, such as ZnO-, CuO-, and NiO-based nanosensors, are described using different methods (receptors) of functionalization for molecular and ion recognition. These functionalized metal oxide surfaces with a specific receptor involve either a complex formation between the receptor and the analyte or an electrostatic interaction during the chemical sensing of analytes. Metal oxide nanostructures are considered revolutionary nanomaterials that have a specific surface for the immobilization of biomolecules with much needed orientation, good conformation and enhanced biological activity which further improve the sensing properties of nanosensors. Metal oxide nanostructures are associated with certain unique optical, electrical and molecular characteristics in addition to unique functionalities and surface charge features which shows attractive platforms for interfacing biorecognition elements with effective transducing properties for signal amplification. There is a great opportunity in the near future for metal oxide nanostructure-based miniaturization and the development of engineering sensor devices.
PMCID: PMC4063009  PMID: 24841244
ZnO nanostructures; CuO nanostructures; NiO nanostructures; potentiometric nanosensors; biosensors; chemical sensors
10.  A catalyst-free growth of aluminum-doped ZnO nanorods by thermal evaporation 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):256.
The growth of Al:ZnO nanorods on a silicon substrate using a low-temperature thermal evaporation method is reported. The samples were fabricated within a horizontal quartz tube under controlled supply of O2 gas where Zn and Al powders were previously mixed and heated at 700°C. This allows the reactant vapors to deposit onto the substrate placed vertically above the source materials. Both the undoped and doped samples were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and photoluminescence (PL) measurements. It was observed that randomly oriented nanowires were formed with varying nanostructures as the dopant concentrations were increased from 0.6 at.% to 11.3 at.% with the appearance of ‘pencil-like’ shape at 2.4 at.%, measuring between 260 to 350 nm and 720 nm in diameter and length, respectively. The HRTEM images revealed nanorods fringes of 0.46 nm wide, an equivalent to the lattice constant of ZnO and correspond to the (0001) fringes with regard to the growth direction. The as-prepared Al:ZnO samples exhibited a strong UV emission band located at approximately 389 nm (E g  = 3.19 eV) with multiple other low intensity peaks appeared at wavelengths greater than 400 nm contributed by oxygen vacancies. The results showed the importance of Al doping that played an important role on the morphology and optical properties of ZnO nanostructures. This may led to potential nanodevices in sensor and biological applications.
PMCID: PMC4050990  PMID: 24948885
Al:ZnO nanowires; Thermal evaporation; Catalyst-free
11.  The design, fabrication, and photocatalytic utility of nanostructured semiconductors: focus on TiO2-based nanostructures 
Recent advances in basic fabrication techniques of TiO2-based nanomaterials such as nanoparticles, nanowires, nanoplatelets, and both physical- and solution-based techniques have been adopted by various research groups around the world. Our research focus has been mainly on various deposition parameters used for fabricating nanostructured materials, including TiO2-organic/inorganic nanocomposite materials. Technically, TiO2 shows relatively high reactivity under ultraviolet light, the energy of which exceeds the band gap of TiO2. The development of photocatalysts exhibiting high reactivity under visible light allows the main part of the solar spectrum to be used. Visible light-activated TiO2 could be prepared by doping or sensitizing. As far as doping of TiO2 is concerned, in obtaining tailored material with improved properties, metal and nonmetal doping has been performed in the context of improved photoactivity. Nonmetal doping seems to be more promising than metal doping. TiO2 represents an effective photocatalyst for water and air purification and for self-cleaning surfaces. Additionally, it can be used as an antibacterial agent because of its strong oxidation activity and superhydrophilicity. Therefore, applications of TiO2 in terms of photocatalytic activities are discussed here. The basic mechanisms of the photoactivities of TiO2 and nanostructures are considered alongside band structure engineering and surface modification in nanostructured TiO2 in the context of doping. The article reviews the basic structural, optical, and electrical properties of TiO2, followed by detailed fabrication techniques of 0-, 1-, and quasi-2-dimensional TiO2 nanomaterials. Applications and future directions of nanostructured TiO2 are considered in the context of various photoinduced phenomena such as hydrogen production, electricity generation via dye-sensitized solar cells, photokilling and self-cleaning effect, photo-oxidation of organic pollutant, wastewater management, and organic synthesis.
PMCID: PMC3781710  PMID: 24198485
TiO2 nanostructure; fabrication techniques; doping in TiO2; TiO2-assisted photoactivity; solar hydrogen; TiO2-based dye-sensitized solar cells; TiO2 self-cleaning; organic synthesis
12.  Research progress on electronic phase separation in low-dimensional perovskite manganite nanostructures 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):325.
Perovskite oxide manganites with a general formula of R1-x AxMnO3 (where R is a trivalent rare-earth element such as La, Pr, Sm, and A is a divalent alkaline-earth element such as Ca, Sr, and Ba) have received much attention due to their unusual electron-transport and magnetic properties, which are indispensable for applications in microelectronic, magnetic, and spintronic devices. Recent advances in the science and technology have resulted in the feature sizes of microelectronic devices based on perovskite manganite oxides down-scaling into nanoscale dimensions. At the nanoscale, low-dimensional perovskite manganite oxide nanostructures display novel physical properties that are different from their bulk and film counterparts. Recently, there is strong experimental evidence to indicate that the low-dimensional perovskite manganite oxide nanostructures are electronically inhomogeneous, consisting of different spatial regions with different electronic orders, a phenomenon that is named as electronic phase separation (EPS). As the geometry sizes of the low-dimensional manganite nanostructures are reduced to the characteristic EPS length scale (typically several tens of nanometers in manganites), the EPS is expected to be strongly modulated, leading to quite dramatic changes in functionality and more emergent phenomena. Therefore, reduced dimensionality opens a door to the new functionalities in perovskite manganite oxides and offers a way to gain new insight into the nature of EPS. During the past few years, much progress has been made in understanding the physical nature of the EPS in low-dimensional perovskite manganite nanostructures both from experimentalists and theorists, which have a profound impact on the oxide nanoelectronics. This nanoreview covers the research progresses of the EPS in low-dimensional perovskite manganite nanostructures such as nanoparticles, nanowires/nanotubes, and nanostructured films and/or patterns. The possible physical origins of the EPS are also discussed from the signatures of electronic inhomogeneities as well as some theoretical scenarios, to shed light on understanding this phenomenon. Finally, the perspectives to the future researches in this area are also outlined.
PMCID: PMC4080779  PMID: 25024686
Perovskite manganites; Low-dimensional nanostructures; Electronic phase separation
13.  Prospects of Nanotechnology in Clinical Immunodiagnostics 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2010;10(7):6535-6581.
Nanostructured materials are promising compounds that offer new opportunities as sensing platforms for the detection of biomolecules. Having micrometer-scale length and nanometer-scale diameters, nanomaterials can be manipulated with current nanofabrication methods, as well as self-assembly techniques, to fabricate nanoscale bio-sensing devices. Nanostructured materials possess extraordinary physical, mechanical, electrical, thermal and multifunctional properties. Such unique properties advocate their use as biomimetic membranes to immobilize and modify biomolecules on the surface of nanoparticles. Alignment, uniform dispersion, selective growth and diameter control are general parameters which play critical roles in the successful integration of nanostructures for the fabrication of bioelectronic sensing devices. In this review, we focus on different types and aspects of nanomaterials, including their synthesis, properties, conjugation with biomolecules and their application in the construction of immunosensing devices. Some key results from each cited article are summarized by relating the concept and mechanism behind each sensor, experimental conditions and the behavior of the sensor under different conditions, etc. The variety of nanomaterial-based bioelectronic devices exhibiting novel functions proves the unique properties of nanomaterials in such sensing devices, which will surely continue to expand in the future. Such nanomaterial based devices are expected to have a major impact in clinical immunodiagnostics, environmental monitoring, security surveillance and for ensuring food safety.
PMCID: PMC3231125  PMID: 22163566
nanotechnology; antibody; antigen; nanomaterials; immune-biosensors
14.  Fabrication and NO2 gas sensing performance of TeO2-core/CuO-shell heterostructure nanorod sensors 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):638.
TeO2-nanostructured sensors are seldom reported compared to other metal oxide semiconductor materials such as ZnO, In2O3, TiO2, Ga2O3, etc. TeO2/CuO core-shell nanorods were fabricated by thermal evaporation of Te powder followed by sputter deposition of CuO. Scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction showed that each nanorod consisted of a single crystal TeO2 core and a polycrystalline CuO shell with a thickness of approximately 7 nm. The TeO2/CuO core-shell one-dimensional (1D) nanostructures exhibited a bamboo leaf-like morphology. The core-shell nanorods were 100 to 300 nm in diameter and up to 30 μm in length. The multiple networked TeO2/CuO core-shell nanorod sensor showed responses of 142% to 425% to 0.5- to 10-ppm NO2 at 150°C. These responses were stronger than or comparable to those of many other metal oxide nanostructures, suggesting that TeO2 is also a promising sensor material. The responses of the core-shell nanorods were 1.2 to 2.1 times higher than those of pristine TeO2 nanorods over the same NO2 concentration range. The underlying mechanism for the enhanced NO2 sensing properties of the core-shell nanorod sensor can be explained by the potential barrier-controlled carrier transport mechanism.
61.46. + w; 07.07.Df; 73.22.-f
PMCID: PMC4256961  PMID: 25489289
TeO2 nanorods; CuO shells; Gas sensors; Response; NO2
15.  Morphological and chemical stability of silicon nanostructures and their molecular overlayers under physiological conditions: towards long-term implantable nanoelectronic biosensors 
The detection of biological and chemical species is of key importance to numerous areas of medical and life sciences. Therefore, a great interest exists in developing new, rapid, miniature, biocompatible and highly sensitive sensors, capable to operate under physiological conditions and displaying long-term stabilities (e.g. in-body implantable sensors). Silicon nanostructures, nanowires and nanotubes, have been extensively explored as building blocks for the creation of improved electrical biosensing devices, by virtue of their remarkably high surface-to-volume ratios, and have shown exceptional sensitivity for the real time label-free detection of molecular species adsorbed on their surfaces, down to the sensitivity of single molecules.
Yet, till this date, almost no rigorous studies have been performed on the temporal morphological stability of these nanostructures, and their resulting electrical devices, under physiological conditions (e.g. serum, blood), as well as on the chemical stability of the molecular recognition over-layers covering these structures.
Here, we present systematic time-resolved results on the morphological stability of bare Si nanowire building blocks, as well on the chemical stability of siloxane-based molecular over-layers, under physiological conditions. Furthermore, in order to overcome the observed short-term morpho-chemical instabilities, we present on the chemical passivation of the Si nanostructures by thin metal oxide nanoshells, in the range of 3–10 nm. The thickness of the metal oxide layer influences on the resulting electrical sensitivity of the fabricated FETs (field effect transistors), with an optimum thickness of 3–4 nm.
The core-shell structures display remarkable long-term morphological stability, preventing both, the chemical hydrolytic dissolution of the silicon under-structure and the concomitant loss of the siloxane-based chemical over-layers, for periods of at least several months. Electrical devices constructed from these nanostructures display excellent electrical characteristics and detection sensitivities, with exceptionally high morphological and functional stabilities. These results pave the road for the creation of long-term implantable biosensing devices in general, and nanodevices in particular.
PMCID: PMC3975481  PMID: 24606762
Nanowire; Field effect transistors; Chemical stability; Silicon; Dissolution; Biosensors
16.  Metal Oxide Nanostructures and Their Gas Sensing Properties: A Review 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2012;12(3):2610-2631.
Metal oxide gas sensors are predominant solid-state gas detecting devices for domestic, commercial and industrial applications, which have many advantages such as low cost, easy production, and compact size. However, the performance of such sensors is significantly influenced by the morphology and structure of sensing materials, resulting in a great obstacle for gas sensors based on bulk materials or dense films to achieve highly-sensitive properties. Lots of metal oxide nanostructures have been developed to improve the gas sensing properties such as sensitivity, selectivity, response speed, and so on. Here, we provide a brief overview of metal oxide nanostructures and their gas sensing properties from the aspects of particle size, morphology and doping. When the particle size of metal oxide is close to or less than double thickness of the space-charge layer, the sensitivity of the sensor will increase remarkably, which would be called “small size effect”, yet small size of metal oxide nanoparticles will be compactly sintered together during the film coating process which is disadvantage for gas diffusion in them. In view of those reasons, nanostructures with many kinds of shapes such as porous nanotubes, porous nanospheres and so on have been investigated, that not only possessed large surface area and relatively mass reactive sites, but also formed relatively loose film structures which is an advantage for gas diffusion. Besides, doping is also an effective method to decrease particle size and improve gas sensing properties. Therefore, the gas sensing properties of metal oxide nanostructures assembled by nanoparticles are reviewed in this article. The effect of doping is also summarized and finally the perspectives of metal oxide gas sensor are given.
PMCID: PMC3376589  PMID: 22736968
metal oxide; gas sensing; nanostructure; size effect; doping
17.  Photocurrent detection of chemically tuned hierarchical ZnO nanostructures grown on seed layers formed by atomic layer deposition 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2012;7(1):290.
We demonstrate the morphological control method of ZnO nanostructures by atomic layer deposition (ALD) on an Al2O3/ZnO seed layer surface and the application of a hierarchical ZnO nanostructure for a photodetector. Two layers of ZnO and Al2O3 prepared using ALD with different pH values in solution coexisted on the alloy film surface, leading to deactivation of the surface hydroxyl groups. This surface complex decreased the ZnO nucleation on the seed layer surface, and thereby effectively screened the inherent surface polarity of ZnO. As a result, a 2-D zinc hydroxyl compound nanosheet was produced. With increasing ALD cycles of ZnO in the seed layer, the nanostructure morphology changes from 2-D nanosheet to 1-D nanorod due to the recovery of the natural crystallinity and polarity of ZnO. The thin ALD ZnO seed layer conformally covers the complex nanosheet structure to produce a nanorod, then a 3-D, hierarchical ZnO nanostructure was synthesized using a combined hydrothermal and ALD method. During the deposition of the ALD ZnO seed layer, the zinc hydroxyl compound nanosheets underwent a self-annealing process at 150 °C, resulting in structural transformation to pure ZnO 3-D nanosheets without collapse of the intrinsic morphology. The investigation on band electronic properties of ZnO 2-D nanosheet and 3-D hierarchical structure revealed noticeable variations depending on the richness of Zn-OH in each morphology. The improved visible and ultraviolet photocurrent characteristics of a photodetector with the active region using 3-D hierarchical structure against those of 2-D nanosheet structure were achieved.
PMCID: PMC3432614  PMID: 22672780
ZnO; nanorod; nanosheet; ALD; hydrothermal growth; band structure; photocurrent; 61.46.Km; 78.67.Qa; 81.07.-b
18.  Poly(lactic acid)/Carbon Nanotube Fibers as Novel Platforms for Glucose Biosensors 
Biosensors  2012;2(1):70-82.
The focus of this paper is the development and investigation of properties of new nanostructured architecture for biosensors applications. Highly porous nanocomposite fibers were developed for use as active materials in biosensors. The nanocomposites comprised poly(lactic acid)(PLA)/multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) fibers obtained via solution-blow spinning onto indium tin oxide (ITO) electrodes. The electrocatalytic properties of nanocomposite-modified ITO electrodes were investigated toward hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) detection. We investigated the effect of carbon nanotube concentration and the time deposition of fibers on the sensors properties, viz., sensitivity and limit of detection. Cyclic voltammetry experiments revealed that the nanocomposite-modified electrodes displayed enhanced activity in the electrochemical reduction of H2O2, which offers a number of attractive features to be explored in development of an amperometric biosensor. Glucose oxidase (GOD) was further immobilized by drop coating on an optimized ITO electrode covered by poly(lactic acid)/carbon nanotube nanofibrous mats. The optimum biosensor response was linear up to 800 mM of glucose with a sensitivity of 358 nA·mM−1 and a Michaelis-Menten constant (KM) of 4.3 mM. These results demonstrate that the solution blow spun nanocomposite fibers have great potential for application as amperometric biosensors due to their high surface to volume ratio, high porosity and permeability of the substrate. The latter features may significantly enhance the field of glucose biosensors.
PMCID: PMC4263541  PMID: 25585633
nanofibers; glucose biosensor; carbon nanotube; poly(lactic acid)
19.  Emerging use of nanostructure films containing capped gold nanoparticles in biosensors 
The localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) property of gold nanoparticles (GNP) has been exploited in a variety of optical sensor configurations including solution-based bioassays, paper-based colorimetric detection, surface-confined nanoparticle film/array-based sensing, etc. Amongst these, gold nanostructured films are of great interest because of their high stability, good reproducibility, robustness, and cost-effectiveness. The inherent optical characteristics of GNP, are attributed to parameters like size and shape (eg, nanospheres, nanorods, nanostars), eg, LSPR spectral location sensitivity to the local environment, composition (eg, gold–silver or silica–gold nanoshells), sensing volume, mesospacing, and multiplexing. These properties allow sensor tunability, enabling enhanced sensitivity and better performance of these biosensors. Ultrasensitive biosensor designs were realized using gold nanostructured films fabricated by bottom-up as well as top-down approaches. In this review, we describe the past, present, and future trends in the development of GNP-LSPR-based sensors, concentrating on both design (fabrication) and application. In the process, we have discussed various combinations of GNP size and shape, substrate, and application domains.
PMCID: PMC3781700  PMID: 24198481
localized surface plasmon resonance; gold nanoparticles; label-free optical biosensor
20.  Nanostructures: a platform for brain repair and augmentation 
Nanoscale structures have been at the core of research efforts dealing with integration of nanotechnology into novel electronic devices for the last decade. Because the size of nanomaterials is of the same order of magnitude as biomolecules, these materials are valuable tools for nanoscale manipulation in a broad range of neurobiological systems. For instance, the unique electrical and optical properties of nanowires, nanotubes, and nanocables with vertical orientation, assembled in nanoscale arrays, have been used in many device applications such as sensors that hold the potential to augment brain functions. However, the challenge in creating nanowires/nanotubes or nanocables array-based sensors lies in making individual electrical connections fitting both the features of the brain and of the nanostructures. This review discusses two of the most important applications of nanostructures in neuroscience. First, the current approaches to create nanowires and nanocable structures are reviewed to critically evaluate their potential for developing unique nanostructure based sensors to improve recording and device performance to reduce noise and the detrimental effect of the interface on the tissue. Second, the implementation of nanomaterials in neurobiological and medical applications will be considered from the brain augmentation perspective. Novel applications for diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases such as multiple sclerosis, meningitis, stroke, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and autism will be considered. Because the blood brain barrier (BBB) has a defensive mechanism in preventing nanomaterials arrival to the brain, various strategies to help them to pass through the BBB will be discussed. Finally, the implementation of nanomaterials in neurobiological applications is addressed from the brain repair/augmentation perspective. These nanostructures at the interface between nanotechnology and neuroscience will play a pivotal role not only in addressing the multitude of brain disorders but also to repair or augment brain functions.
PMCID: PMC4064704  PMID: 24999319
nanotechnology; brain repair and augmentation; brain activity mapping; blood brain barrier; carbon nanotube; multi-electrode array; nano-imprint lithography; inter-laminar microcircuit
21.  Controllable synthesis of branched ZnO/Si nanowire arrays with hierarchical structure 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2014;9(1):328.
A rational approach for creating branched ZnO/Si nanowire arrays with hierarchical structure was developed based on a combination of three simple and cost-effective synthesis pathways. The crucial procedure included growth of crystalline Si nanowire arrays as backbones by chemical etching of Si substrates, deposition of ZnO thin film as a seed layer by magnetron sputtering, and fabrication of ZnO nanowire arrays as branches by hydrothermal growth. The successful synthesis of ZnO/Si heterogeneous nanostructures was confirmed by morphologic, structural, and optical characterizations. The roles of key experimental parameters, such as the etchant solution, the substrate direction, and the seed layer on the hierarchical nanostructure formation, were systematically investigated. It was demonstrated that an etchant solution with an appropriate redox potential of the oxidant was crucial for a moderate etching speed to achieve a well-aligned Si nanowire array with solid and round surface. Meanwhile, the presence of gravity gradient was a key issue for the growth of branched ZnO nanowire arrays. The substrate should be placed vertically or facedown in contrast to the solution surface during the hydrothermal growth. Otherwise, only the condensation of the ZnO nanoparticles took place in a form of film on the substrate surface. The seed layer played another important role in the growth of ZnO nanowire arrays, as it provided nucleation sites and determined the growing direction and density of the nanowire arrays for reducing the thermodynamic barrier. The results of this study might provide insight on the synthesis of hierarchical three-dimensional nanostructure materials and offer an approach for the development of complex devices and advanced applications.
PMCID: PMC4086289  PMID: 25024688
ZnO/Si nanowire arrays; Hierarchical structure; Chemical etching; Hydrothermal growth
22.  Enhanced Ethanol Gas Sensing Properties of SnO2-Core/ZnO-Shell Nanostructures 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2014;14(8):14586-14600.
An inexpensive single-step carbon-assisted thermal evaporation method for the growth of SnO2-core/ZnO-shell nanostructures is described, and the ethanol sensing properties are presented. The structure and phases of the grown nanostructures are investigated by field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques. XRD analysis indicates that the core-shell nanostructures have good crystallinity. At a lower growth duration of 15 min, only SnO2 nanowires with a rectangular cross-section are observed, while the ZnO shell is observed when the growth time is increased to 30 min. Core-shell hierarchical nanostructures are present for a growth time exceeding 60 min. The growth mechanism for SnO2-core/ZnO-shell nanowires and hierarchical nanostructures are also discussed. The sensitivity of the synthesized SnO2-core/ZnO-shell nanostructures towards ethanol sensing is investigated. Results show that the SnO2-core/ZnO-shell nanostructures deposited at 90 min exhibit enhanced sensitivity to ethanol. The sensitivity of SnO2-core/ZnO-shell nanostructures towards 20 ppm ethanol gas at 400 °C is about ∼5-times that of SnO2 nanowires. This improvement in ethanol gas response is attributed to high active sensing sites and the synergistic effect of the encapsulation of SnO2 by ZnO nanostructures.
PMCID: PMC4179074  PMID: 25116903
ethanol gas sensor; ZnO; SnO2; core-shell nanostructures; hierarchical nanostructures
23.  Hydrogen Gas Sensors Based on Semiconductor Oxide Nanostructures 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2012;12(5):5517-5550.
Recently, the hydrogen gas sensing properties of semiconductor oxide (SMO) nanostructures have been widely investigated. In this article, we provide a comprehensive review of the research progress in the last five years concerning hydrogen gas sensors based on SMO thin film and one-dimensional (1D) nanostructures. The hydrogen sensing mechanism of SMO nanostructures and some critical issues are discussed. Doping, noble metal-decoration, heterojunctions and size reduction have been investigated and proved to be effective methods for improving the sensing performance of SMO thin films and 1D nanostructures. The effect on the hydrogen response of SMO thin films and 1D nanostructures of grain boundary and crystal orientation, as well as the sensor architecture, including electrode size and nanojunctions have also been studied. Finally, we also discuss some challenges for the future applications of SMO nanostructured hydrogen sensors.
PMCID: PMC3386698  PMID: 22778599
hydrogen gas sensor; semiconductor oxides; nanostructure; thin films; one-dimensional nanostructures
24.  Role of the Exposed Polar Facets in the Performance of Thermally and UV Activated ZnO Nanostructured Gas Sensors 
ZnO nanostructures with different morphologies (nanowires, nanodisks, and nanostars) were synthesized hydrothermally. Gas sensing properties of the as-grown nanostructures were investigated under thermal and UV activation. The performance of the ZnO nanodisk gas sensor was found to be superior to that of other nanostructures (Sg ∼ 3700% to 300 ppm ethanol and response time and recovery time of 8 and 13 s). The enhancement in sensitivity is attributed to the surface polarities of the different structures on the nanoscale. Furthermore, the selectivity of the gas sensors can be achieved by controlling the UV intensity used to activate these sensors. The highest sensitivity value for ethanol, isopropanol, acetone, and toluene are recorded at the optimal UV intensity of 1.6, 2.4, 3.2, and 4 mW/cm2, respectively. Finally, the UV activation mechanism for metal oxide gas sensors is compared with the thermal activation process. The UV activation of analytes based on solution processed ZnO structures pave the way for better quality gas sensors.
PMCID: PMC3759168  PMID: 24009781
25.  Development of an Ion Sensitive Field Effect Transistor Based Urea Biosensor with Solid State Reference Systems 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2010;10(6):6115-6127.
Ion sensitive field-effect transistor (ISFET) based urease biosensors with solid state reference systems for single-ended and two-ended differential readout electronics were investigated. The sensing membranes of the biosensors were fabricated with urease immobilized in a conducting polymer-based matrix. The responses of 12.9∼198.1 mV for the urea concentrations of 8∼240 mg/dL reveal that the activity of the enzyme was not significantly decreased. Biosensors combined with solid state reference systems were fabricated, and the evaluation results demonstrated the feasibility of miniaturization. For the differential system, the optimal transconductance match for biosensor and reference field-effect transistors (REFET) pair was determined through the modification of the membranes of the REFETs and enzyme field-effect transistors (EnFETs). The results show that the transconductance curve of polymer based REFET can match with that of the EnFET by adjusting the photoresist/Nafion™ ratio. The match of the transconductance curves for the differential pairs provides a wide dynamic operating measurement range. Accordingly, the miniaturized quasi-reference electrode (QRE)/REFET/EnFET combination with differential arrangement achieved similar urea response curves as those measured by a conventional large sized discrete sensor.
PMCID: PMC3247750  PMID: 22219705
ion sensitive field-effect transistors (ISFETs); reference field-effect transistors (REFETs); differential measurement; biosensor; enzyme field-effect transistors (EnFETs); transconductance-match

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