Nanowire Chemical/Biological Sensors: Status and a Roadmap for the Future

John F. Fennell, Sophie F. Liu, Joseph M. Azzarelli, Jonathan G. Weis, Sébastien Rochat, Katherine A. Mirica, Jens B. Ravnsbæk, Timothy M. Swager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Citations (SciVal)


Chemiresistive sensors are becoming increasingly important as they offer an inexpensive option to conventional analytical instrumentation, they can be readily integrated into electronic devices, and they have low power requirements. Nanowires (NWs) are a major theme in chemosensor development. High surface area, interwire junctions, and restricted conduction pathways give intrinsically high sensitivity and new mechanisms to transduce the binding or action of analytes. This Review details the status of NW chemosensors with selected examples from the literature. We begin by proposing a principle for understanding electrical transport and transduction mechanisms in NW sensors. Next, we offer the reader a review of device performance parameters. Then, we consider the different NW types followed by a summary of NW assembly and different device platform architectures. Subsequently, we discuss NW functionalization strategies. Finally, we propose future developments in NW sensing to address selectivity, sensor drift, sensitivity, response analysis, and emerging applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1266-1281
Number of pages16
JournalAngewandte Chemie-International Edition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2016


  • metal oxides
  • nanocarbons
  • nanowires
  • sensors
  • transduction mechanism


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