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Time-dependent pH sensing phenomena using CdSe/ZnS quantum dots in EIS structure

Pankaj Kumar1, Siddheswar Maikap12*, Amit Prakash1 and Ta-Chang Tien3

Author Affiliations

1 Thin Film Nano Technology Laboratory, Department of Electronic Engineering, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan 333, Taiwan

2 Bio-Sensor Group, Department of Electronic Engineering, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan 333, Taiwan

3 Material and Chemical Research Laboratories, Industrial Technology Research Institute Hsinchu 310, Taiwan

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:179  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-179

Published: 12 April 2014


Time-dependent pH sensing phenomena of the core-shell CdSe/ZnS quantum dot (QD) sensors in EIS (electrolyte insulator semiconductor) structure have been investigated for the first time. The quantum dots are immobilized by chaperonin GroEL protein, which are observed by both atomic force microscope and scanning electron microscope. The diameter of one QD is approximately 6.5 nm. The QDs are not oxidized over a long time and core-shell CdSe/ZnS are confirmed by X-ray photon spectroscopy. The sensors are studied for sensing of hydrogen ions concentration in different buffer solutions at broad pH range of 2 to 12. The QD sensors show improved sensitivity (38 to 55 mV/pH) as compared to bare SiO2 sensor (36 to 23 mV/pH) with time period of 0 to 24 months, owing to the reduction of defects in the QDs. Therefore, the differential sensitivity of the QD sensors with respect to the bare SiO2 sensors is improved from 2 to 32 mV/pH for the time period of 0 to 24 months. After 24 months, the sensitivity of the QD sensors is close to ideal Nernstian response with good linearity of 99.96%. Stability and repeatability of the QD sensors show low drift (10 mV for 10 cycles) as well as small hysteresis characteristics (<10 mV). This QD sensor is very useful for future human disease diagnostics.

pH sensor; CdSe/ZnS quantum dots; EIS structure; Sensitivity