Graduation Year

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Stephen E. Saddow, Ph.D.

Keywords

Biological cell, Semiconductor, Hybrid system, Surface topography, Surface potential, Surface chemistry

Abstract

Cell-semiconductor hybrid systems are a potential centerpiece in the scenery of biotechnological applications. The selection and study of promising crystalline semiconductor materials for bio-sensing applications is at the basis of the development of such hybrid systems. In this work we introduce crystalline SiC as an extremely appealing material for bio-applications. For the first time we report biocompatibility studies of different SiC polytypes whose results document the biocompatibility of this material and its capability of directly interfacing cells without the need of surface functionalization. Since the successful implementation of biosensors requires a good understanding and versatile control of the semiconductor surface properties, the chemistry, crystallography and electronic status of different SiC surfaces are extensively studied while their surface morphologies are thoroughly controlled via hydrogen etching. Also, investigations of the effect of cell surface charge on the electronic status of SiC surfaces are attempted adopting a contactless surface potential monitoring technique. The results obtained from these contactless measurements lead to the development of theoretical models well-suited for the description of cell-semiconductor hybrid systems electronic interactions.

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