Nano-scale Field Effect Transistor for Biomolecule Sensing

Leuven - Master projects
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Explore molecular sensing with nano-scale CMOS technology

With significant progress in CMOS process technology, we are now able to manufacture nano-scale Field-Effect Transistors (FETs) down to 7 nm. This has opened doors not just for better computing but also for areas like bio-sensing for proteins and DNA.

An important innovation lies in large-scale integration of nanoscale transistors for analyzing biological systems, which could provide for massive parallelization and deliver a more complete view of a biological system at a reasonable cost. However, there are several challenges open that still need to be tackled to achieve such a large-scale bio-electronic sensor chip. In this master thesis, the student will investigate nano-sized field effect transistors for their ability to sense bio-molecules in electrolytic environments and try to understand the effect of surface functionalization on bio-sensing.

In order to capture the target biomolecules on the FET, the surface of the transistor needs to be functionalized with special molecules that can bind with the target biomolecules floating around Text Box: Fig.1 : Klenow fragment of a DNA polymerase attached to a single-walled carbon nanotube FET device. (Olsen et al. JACS 2013, 135(21)).in the electrolyte solution. This surface functionalization can influence the bio-sensing ability of the FET, which is important if we want to achieve a low Limit of Detection (LOD). During the master thesis, these sensors will be characterized in detail to understand their behavior for different types and methods of surface functionalization. The student will also work on analyzing the noise contribution of the functionalization and the effect of the electrolytic environment. The thesis will involve working in the cleanroom, bio-chemistry labs and on electrical characterization tools. Molecular sensitivity and the potential of FET-based molecular sensors will be investigated.



Type of project: Internship, Thesis, Combination of internship and thesis

Duration: 3-6 months

Required degree: Master of Science, Master of Engineering Science, Master of Bioengineering

Required background: Bioscience Engineering, Chemistry/Chemical Engineering, Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Physics

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Koen Martens (

Only for self-supporting students

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