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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Paul Bergstrom


There is a need for a new sensing device; one that is capable of sensing much lower concentrations at much faster rates than what is currently available. When these needs are satisfied, the new technology has the potential to improve healthcare by increasing the likelihood of early disease detection, reduce industrial manufacturing costs by increasing the speed to analyte measurement, and protect the people of the world in ways that are currently not possible by multiplexed testing capability to detect analytes such as poisons. There have been several technologies that have been developed to detect ultra-low analyte concentrations; however none of them are yet commercially viable. Silicon nanowires have the ability to satisfy the new sensing needs, while remaining commercially viable with a manufacturing process that could allow for mass production much easier than that of other technologies. Both modeling and experimentation was performed for this dissertation to enhance the knowledge of the functionality, sensitivity, and fabrication of silicon nanowire biosensors. Applying the results from this work, the design of the silicon nanowire chip enhanced the resolution of the sensor to detect pico-molar concentrations of Bovine Serum Albumin in solution with a 100 nA current signal change, and the fabrication studies have increased the functional device yield from 75% to 95%. Utilizing the electrodeposition methods for selectively coating the silicon nanowires and the easily scalable fabrication process developed through this endeavor will allow for ease of integration into a mass production environment, ultimately moving the viability of the technology commercialization forward.