The polycrystalline silicon nanowire field-effect transistor (poly-SiNW FET) is one of the most sensitive sensors used in real-time and label-free biosensing applications. Its low power requirement, mass production potential, and integrability with electronic components make it a highly attractive device in the rapidly growing diagnostic research field. From the viewpoint of device physics, the charges in the vicinity of a nanowire (NW) surface modulate the electrical characteristics of the NW device. The charges can originate from surface molecules or an ionic solution, and their role in NW biosensing systems remains to be clarified. Determining their role is crucial for understanding the physical interactions of charges in a biosensing event and for the realization of NW-based biosensors. Therefore, using poly-SiNW FET, we investigated the interactions of the immobilized molecules on the NW surface with the mobile charges in solutions. We also investigated the interactions between the mobile charged polymers and the immobilized molecules on the NW surface, and we observed the effect of charge neutrality, originating from Coulomb charge-charge interactions, on the NW conductance. Finally, the isoelectric points between native and sulfated PSGL-1 peptides on the NW surface were identified. This study provides a physical understanding of the charge-charge interaction of mobile charges with immobilized charged molecules on a nanoscale surface and presents new opportunities for using charge-based detection in biological and chemical sensing applications.
- Keywords Polycrystalline silicon Nanowire field-effect transistor pH sensing Ionic effect Surface composition Charge-charge interaction