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Journal of Nanotechnology
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 3794109, 8 pages
Research Article

Nanosensing Backed by the Uncertainty Principle

Department of Physics, North Carolina Central University, 1801 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27707, USA

Received 4 December 2015; Accepted 5 January 2016

Academic Editor: Wen Zeng

Copyright © 2016 I. Filikhin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Possibility for a novel type of sensors for detecting nanosized substances (e.g., macromolecules or molecule clusters) through their effects on electron tunneling in a double nanoscale semiconductor heterostructure is discussed. We studied spectral distributions of localized/delocalized states of a single electron in a double quantum well (DQW) with relation to slight asymmetry perturbations. The asymmetry was modeled by modification of the dot shape and the confinement potential. Electron energy uncertainty is restricted by the differences between energy levels within the spectra of separated QWs. Hence, we established a direct relationship between the uncertainty of electron localization and the energy uncertainty. We have shown in various instances that a small violation of symmetry drastically affects the electron localization. These phenomena can be utilized to devise new sensing functionalities. The charge transport in such sensors is highly sensitive to minuscule symmetry violation caused by the detected substance. The detection of the electron localization constitutes the sensor signal.