Ultra-sensitive suspended atomically thin-layered black phosphorus mercury sensors.

Author(s) Li, P.; Zhang, D.; Jiang, C.; Zong, X.; Cao, Y.
Journal Biosens Bioelectron
Date Published 2017 Dec 15

The extraordinary properties of black phosphorus (BP) make it a promising candidate for next-generation transistor chemical sensors. However, BP films reported so far are supported on substrate, and substrate scattering drastically deteriorates its electrical properties. Consequentially, the potential sensing capability of intrinsic BP is highly underestimated and its sensing mechanism is masked. Additionally, the optimum sensing regime of BP remains unexplored. This article is the first demonstration of suspended BP sensor operated in subthreshold regime. BP exhibited significant enhancement of sensitivity for ultra-low-concentration mercury detection in the absence of substrate, and the sensitivity reached maximum in subthreshold regime. Without substrate scattering, the suspended BP device demonstrated 10 times lower 1/f noise which contributed to better signal-to-noise ratio. Therefore, rapid label-free trace detection of Hg(2+) was achieved with detection limit of 0.01 ppb, lower than the world health organization (WHO) tolerance level (1 ppb). The time constant for ion detection extracted was 3s. Additionally, experimental results revealed that good stability, repeatability, and selectivity were achieved. BP sensors also demonstrated the ability of detecting mercury ions in environment water samples. The underling sensing mechanism of intrinsic BP was ascribed to the carrier density variation resulted from surface charge gating effect, so suspended BP in subthreshold regime with optimum gating effect demonstrated the best sensitivity. Our results show the prominent advantages of intrinsic BP as a sensing material.

DOI 10.1016/j.bios.2017.06.027
ISSN 1873-4235
Citation Biosens Bioelectron. 2017;98:6875.