Keywords: nanotechnology, nanosensors, analogue, ADC, comparators, gas sensors, nanomaterial resistive sensors, wireless sensor networks, WSNs, wireless networks, carbon nanotubes, silicon nanowires
Nanomaterial resistive sensors: noise, power, and circuit interfaces
Nanoscale materials such as carbon nanotubes and silicon nanowires offer the exciting prospect of enabling low cost, low power, highly sensitive detectors for a wide variety of chemical and biological materials. The potential of these materials in sensing applications has been demonstrated by researchers around the world. However, several challenges remain to transition this technology from laboratory demonstration to real-world application in portable, battery-operated sensor devices or environmentally-powered wireless sensor network nodes. We describe some of the inherent challenges and limitations of exploiting nanomaterial resistive sensors for gas detection due to noise and process variation. In the context of energy-harvesting wireless sensor networks, the opportunities and limits of circuit techniques to compensate for some sensor non-idealities are discussed.