Metal-organic polyhedra-coated si nanowires for the sensitive detection of trace explosives

Anping Cao, Wei Zhu, Jin Shang, Johan H. Klootwijk*, Ernst J.R. Sudhölter, Jurriaan Huskens, Louis C.P.M. de Smet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
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Surface-modified silicon nanowire-based field-effect transistors (SiNW-FETs) have proven to be a promising platform for molecular recognition in miniature sensors. In this work, we present a novel nanoFET/device for the sensitive and selective detection of explosives based on affinity layers of metal-organic polyhedra (MOPs). The judicious selection of the \ geometric and electronic characteristics of the assembly units (organic ligands and unsaturated metal site) embedded within the MOP cage allowed for the formation of multiple charge-transfer (CT) interactions to facilitate the selective explosive inclusion. Meanwhile, the host-stabilized CT complex inside the cage acted as an effective molecular gating element to strongly modulate the electrical conductance of the silicon nanowires. By grafting the MOP cages onto a SiNW-FET device, the resulting sensor showed a good electrical sensing capability to various explosives, especially 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), with a detection limit below the nanomolar level. Importantly, coupling MOPs-which have tunable structures and properties- to SiNW-based devices may open up new avenues for a wide range of sensing applications, addressing various target analytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalNano letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2017


  • Charge-transfer interaction
  • Explosives detection
  • Metal-organic polyhedra
  • Molecular recognition
  • Silicon nanowire-based field-effect transistor
  • 2023 OA procedure


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