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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3BC8S

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ENGINEERED NANOSTRUCTURED THIN FILMS FOR ENHANCED SURFACE ACOUSTIC WAVE SENSORS Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
surface acoustic wave
GLAD
nanostructured thin film
SAW sensor
glancing angle deposition
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kwan, Jonathan K
Supervisor and department
Sit, Jeremy (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Hiebert, Wayne (Physics)
Stoeber, Boris (Mechanical Engineering)
Brett, Michael (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Sit, Jeremy (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Wang, Xihua (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Tsui, Ying (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Department
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Specialization
Microsystems and Nanodevices
Date accepted
2013-03-27T14:57:15Z
Graduation date
2013-06
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
Sensor technologies profoundly impact all aspects of our everyday lives. Advances have led to smaller devices, faster response times, reduced costs, higher specificity and sensitivity, and even new sensing technologies. Surface acoustic wave (SAW) technology, which has been around for many decades already, is an example of a newer sensing technology that has begun to be studied for sensing applications. Many advantages of SAW sensors have been identified, in particular the high sensitivity, low cost and wireless capability. However, as the technology is still in its infancy for sensing applications, many improvements and refinements on the platform have yet to be explored. With the arrival of nanotechnology, many existing technologies have benefited from integrating with the new findings that nanotechnology has brought forth. This thesis investigates the enhancement of existing SAW sensors using nanostructured films fabricated by a thin film deposition process known as glancing angle deposition (GLAD). The GLAD technique is a highly flexible and precise thin film fabrication method that is able to create high-surface-area thin films. This high-surface-area characteristic of these films is the driving motivation in their utilization to enhance the performance of SAW sensors. This thesis first demonstrates that dense, extremely high surface area films can be deposited on SAW sensors without adversely affecting device performance. These modified sensors were then studied as humidity sensors to demonstrate improved sensitivity with the addition of the GLAD films. Before the sensors with GLAD films could be tested in a liquid environment, ion-milling was investigated as a method of eliminating the clustering of the individual structures typically seen after exposure to liquids. These modified films were extended for use on the SAW sensors to investigate liquid sensing performance. The performance of SAW devices with clustered films was also studied for comparison. Both types of films were shown to increase sensitivity greatly over the reference SAW device. The success of these results validates the ability of GLAD films to enhance the sensitivity of not only SAW devices, but potentially other sensing technologies as well.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3BC8S
Rights
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
J. K. Kwan and J. C. Sit. High sensitivity Love-wave humidity sensors using glancing angle deposited thin films. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 173, 2012, pp. 164168.J. K. Kwan and J. C. Sit. The use of ion-milling to control clustering of nanostructured, columnar thin films. Nanotechnology 21(29), 2010, p. 295301.J. K. Kwan and J. C. Sit. Acoustic wave liquid sensors enhanced with glancing angle-deposited thin films. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 181, 2013, pp. 715719.

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