Heterogeneously Integrated Impedance Based Biosensors
The salient issues of integrated biosensors on a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) platform are the limited transducer design and the need for post-processing. To overcome these issues, a heterogeneously integrated system, which employs both CMOS and large-area processing, was proposed and developed. The system presented, could become a rapid, low-cost and disposable sensing platform for point-of-care applications.
The heterogeneously integrated system, comprising a CMOS front-end circuit and disposable electrodes, was applied to measure the impedance of suspended DNA at different concentrations. The measurement showed a double sensitivity compared to the one carried out on the CMOS platform only. The noise analysis of CMOS transimpedance amplifiers was performed, and the impact of technology scaling on low-noise transimpedance amplifiers was studied using the Enz-Krummenacher-Vittoz (EKV) model. It was found that the noise performance improves slowly with device scaling down to 90 nm. Further device scaling may increase the gate leakage current noise due to the very thin gate oxide. Disposable electrodes fabricated using large-area processing are low cost and flexible in terms of design. In particular, inkjet-printed silver electrodes on glossy paper and gold electrodes on the glass substrate were characterised. Both electrodes with the same dimension agreed well in determining solution resistance. In addition, the paper-based electrodes presented an improved sensitivity of impedance measurement at low frequencies. The amorphous oxide thin-film transistor (TFT) is promising for implementing active circuits on disposable substrates. In particular, the low-frequency noise of amorphous indium-gallium-zinc-oxide (a-IGZO) TFTs was characterised, and a TFT-based regulated cascade transimpedance amplifier was designed and simulated with the extracted device parameters. The a-IGZO TFT showed a comparable noise performance to the PMOS device in deep submicron processes. The simulated circuit featured a transimpedance gain up to 120 dB, a bandwidth of 29.4 kHz, input-referred noise PSD of 2.91 pA/√Hz, and a power consumption of 18.55 μW, indicating that TFT-based front-end circuits are promising for implementing low-cost, low-noise and low-power biosensors.