In recent years the demand of highly miniaturized sensor arrays capable of selectively detecting extremely small concentrations (part per trillion, ppt) of multiple gaseous analytes has steadily grown. This dissertation presents the design and the experimental verification of a nano electro mechanical systems (NEMS) based resonant sensor technology suitable for the implementation of miniaturized and CMOS compatible sensing platforms for the detection of sub part per billion (sub-ppb) concentrations of Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs). The unique advantages of the proposed technology, called Aluminum Nitride (AlN) Nano Plate Resonant Sensor (NPR-S), are discussed in this thesis and the superior sensitivity and limit of detection (LOD ∼zg/μm 2) that this technology attains with respect to any other available acoustic device are demonstrated. The choice of a novel functionalization layer based on ss-DNA is introduced as an effective way to selectively detect multiple VOCs without altering the electromechanical characteristics of the resonator. All the unique advantages of the AlN NPR-S technology, in terms of miniaturization, limit of detection and transduction efficiency are exploited by discussing the design and experimental verification of the first prototype of a resonant sensing platform based on AlN NPR-S for selective detection of ultra-low concentrations (as low as 700 ppt) of VOCs.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mrinaldi/16/