Keywords: nanowires, nanoribbons, tin dioxide, zinc oxide, chemical sensors, nanosensors, waveguides, subwavelengths, evanescent fields, security, nanotechnology, chemical detection, biological detection, gas sensors, sensing strategies, wave sensors, electrical detection, optical detection
Chemical sensing with nanowires using electrical and optical detection
Chemical nanosensors based on inorganic nanowires hold promise for the extremely sensitive, direct detection of pollutants, toxins and biomolecules on platforms small enough to be integrated on optoelectronic chips or even deployed in living organisms. This paper discusses two approaches to nanowire-based chemical and biological detection. First we review the development of electrically-driven nanowire gas sensors that function by an adsorbate-mediated conductivity mechanism. We then describe an alternative sensing strategy that exploits the excellent waveguiding ability of high-refractive-index nanowires to create subwavelength evanescent wave sensors that operate in solution with an optical, rather than electrical, readout.