Date of Award

Fall 12-18-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science



Major Professor

weilie zhou


To build novel electronic noses for mimicking biological olfactory systems that consist of olfactory receptor arrays with large surface area and massively-diversified chemical reactivity, three dimensional (3D) vertical aligned ZnO nanowire arrays were employed as active materials for gas detection. ZnO nanowire arrays share 3D structures similar to mammalian olfactory receptor arrays, with thousands of vertical nanowires providing a high reception area which can significantly enhance the sensors’ sensitivity. Meanwhile, with different material decorations (such as SnO2, In2O3, WO3 and polymers), each array of nanowires can produce a distinguishable response for each separate analyte, which would provide a promising way to improve the selectivity. Both patterned grown well-aligned and wafer size random-distributed 3D nanowire array sensing devices are investigated. Several different types of gas sensors have been investigated in this dissertation. Metal oxide semiconductor gas sensors based on 3D metal oxides/ZnO vertical nanowire arrays have detected NO2 and H2S down to ppb level, and five gases of NO2, H2S, H2, NH3, and CO have been discriminated. Active self-powered gas sensors based on 3D metal oxides/ZnO vertical nanowire arrays have been successfully fabricated and worked well for H2S and NO2 detection. With the decoration by mixture of PEDOT polymer with metal oxide nanoparticles, ZnO vertical nanowire array gas sensors have fast response and recovery time as well as good sensitivity to volatile organic gases of acetone, methanol and ethanol. A novel ionization sensor also has been built by ZnO vertical nannowire arrays, and this device could be able to ionize air under safety operation voltage.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.