Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science



Major Professor

Zhou, Weilie

Second Advisor

Stokes, Kevin

Third Advisor

Puri, Ashok

Fourth Advisor

Malkinski, Leszek

Fifth Advisor

Schilling, Paul


Mimicking the biological olfactory systems that consist of olfactory receptor arrays with large surface area and massively-diversified chemical reactivity, three dimensional (3D) metal oxide nanowire arrays were used as the active materials for gas detection. Metal oxide nanowire arrays share similar 3D structures as the array of mammal's olfactory receptors and the chemical reactivity of nanowire array can be modified by surface coatings. In this dissertation, two standalone gas sensors based on metal oxide nanowire arrays prepared by microfabrication and in-situ micromanipulation, respectively, have been demonstrated. The sensors based on WO3 nanowire arrays can detect 50 ppb NO2 with a fast response; well-aligned CuO nanowire array present a new detection mechanism, which can identify H2S at a concentration of 500 ppb. To expand the material library of 3D metal oxide nanowire arrays for gas sensing, a general route to polycrystalline metal oxide nanowire array has been introduced by using ZnO nanowire arrays as structural templates. The effectiveness of this method for high performance gas sensing was first investigated by single-nanowire devices. The polycrystalline metal oxide coatings showed high performance for gas detection and their sensitivity can be further enhanced by catalytic noble metal decorations. To form electronic nose systems, different metal oxide coatings and catalytic decorations were employed to diversify the chemical reactivity of the sensors. The systems can detect low concentrated H2S and NO2 at room temperature down to part-per-billion level. The system with different catalytic metal coatings is also capable of discriminiating five different gases (H2S, NO2, NH3, H2 and CO).


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