Experimental characterization of a metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor-based Coulter counter

Manoj Sridhar, Dongyan Xu, Yuejun Kang, Anthony B. Hmelo, Leonard C. Feldman, Dongqing Li, Deyu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


We report the detailed characterization of an ultrasensitive microfluidic device used to detect the translocation of small particles through a sensing microchannel. The device connects a fluidic circuit to the gate of a metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) and detects particles by monitoring the MOSFET drain current modulation instead of the modulation in the ionic current through the sensing channel. The minimum volume ratio of the particle to the sensing channel detected is 0.006%, which is about ten times smaller than the lowest detected volume ratio previously reported in the literature. This volume ratio is detected at a noise level of about 0.6% of the baseline MOSFET drain current, clearly showing the amplification effects from the fluidic circuits and the MOSFETs. We characterize the device sensitivity as a function of the MOSFET gate potential and show that its sensitivity is higher when the MOSFET is operating below its threshold gate voltage than when it is operating above the threshold voltage. In addition, we demonstrate that the device sensitivity linearly increases with the applied electrical bias across the fluidic circuit. Finally, we show that polystyrene beads and glass beads with similar sizes can be distinguished from each other based on their different translocation times, and the size distribution of microbeads can be obtained with accuracy comparable to that of direct scanning electron microscopy measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104701
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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