Applied Surface Science, Vol.419, 206-212, 2017
Improving pH sensitivity by field-induced charge regulation in flexible biopolymer electrolyte gated oxide transistors
Electrical manipulation of charged ions in electrolyte-gated transistors is crucial for enhancing the electric-double-layer (EDL) gating effect, thereby improving their sensing abilities. Here, indium-zinc oxide (IZO) based thin-film-transistors (TFTs) are fabricated on flexible plastic substrate. Acid doped chitosan-based biopolymer electrolyte is used as the gate dielectric, exhibiting an extremely high EDL capacitance. By regulating the dynamic EDL charging process with special gate potential profiles, the EDL gating effect of the chitosan-gated TFT is enhanced, and then resulting in higher pH sensitivities. An extremely high sensitivity of similar to 57.8 mV/pH close to Nernst limit is achieved when the gate bias of the TFT sensor sweeps at a rate of 10 mV/s. Additionally, an enhanced sensitivity of 2630% in terms of current variation with pH range from 11 to 3 is realized when the device is operated in the ion depletion mode with a negative gate bias of -0.7 V. Robust ionic modulation is demonstrated in such chitosan-gated sensors. Efficiently driving the charged ions in the chitosan-gated IZO-TFT provides a new route for ultrasensitive, low voltage, and low-cost biochemical sensing technologies. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.