Fundamentals of Nanosensors


This is a course for people who are interested in learning about novel sensing tools that makes use of nanotechnology (a technology that relies in the regime between one to hundred nanometers, viz. billionths of the meters) to screen, and monitor various events in either our personal or professional life. Together, we will discover the fascinating world of nanoland that bumps up against the basic building blocks of matter. As such, we will lay the groundwork for infinite innovative applications in every part of our daily life, starting from in-vivo and ex-vivo diagnosis and treatments of diseases, continuing with quality control of goods and environmental aspects, and ending with monitoring security issues. In this endeavor, we will learn how to fabricate such new tools, how to characterize them, how to control them, and how to integrate them in the various applications.


Lesson 1: Introduction to Nanotechnology: Definition of nanotechnology; main features of nanomaterials; types of nanostructures (0D, 1D, and 2D structures); nanocomposites; and main chemical/physical/electrical/optical properties of nanomaterials. Methods for characterizing the nanomaterials: Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), and spectroscopy- and spectrometry-based surface analysis techniques. Fabrication of sensors by bottom-up and top-down approaches; self-assembly of nanostructures; and examples for nanotechnology application
Lesson 2: Introduction to Sensors’ Science and Technology: Definition of sensors; main elements of sensors; similarities between living organisms and artificial sensors; working mechanism of physical sensation (seeing, hearing, and feeling) and chemical sensation (smelling and tasting); the parameters used for characterizing the performance of sensors: accuracy, precision, sensitivity, detection limit, dynamic range, selectivity, linearity, resolution, response time, hysteresis, and life cycle.
Lesson 3: Metal nanoparticle-based Sensors: Definition of nanoparticle; features of nanoparticles; and production of nanoparticles by physical approach (laser ablation) and chemical approaches (Brust method, seed-mediated growth, etc.). Applications of metal nanoparticle-based sensors in (bio)chemical, environmental and biomedical engineering. Quantum Dot Sensors: Definition of quantum dot; fabrication techniques of quantum dots; Macroscopic and microscopic photoluminescence measurements; applications of quantum dots as multimodal contrast agents in bioimaging; and application of quantum dots as biosensors.
Lesson 4: Nanowire-based Sensors: Definition of nanowires; features of nanowires; fabrication of individual nanowire by top-down approaches and bottom-up approaches; and fabrication of nanowire arrays (fluidic channel, blown bubble film, contact printing, spray coating, etc.). Applications of metal nanoparticle-based sensors in (bio)chemical, environmental and biomedical engineering.
Lesson 5: Carbon Nanotubes-based Sensors: Definition of carbon nanotube; features of carbon nanotubes; synthesis of carbon nanotubes; fabrication and working principles of sensors based on individual carbon nanotube; fabrication and working principles of sensors based on random array of carbon nanotubes.
Lesson 6: Sensors Based on Nanostructures of Metal Oxide: Synthesis of metal oxide structures by dry and wet methods; types of metal oxide gas sensors (0D, 1D, and 2D); defect chemistry of the metal oxide sensors; sensing mechanism of metal-oxide gas sensors; and porous metal-oxide structures for improved sensing applications.
Lesson 7: Mass-Sensitive Sensors: Working principle of sensors based on polymeric nanostructures; sensing mechanism and applications of nanomaterial-based of chemiresistors and field effect transistors of (semi-)conductive polymers, w/o inorganic materials.

Lesson 8: Optical Nanomaterial-based Sensors: Working principles of optical measurements; fabrication of optical sensors by nano-materials; sensing mechanisms of different optical sensors, such as plasmonics, waveguides and optical fibers, ionic, electrooptical and optomechanical sensors.
Lesson 9: Biological Nanomaterial-based Sensors: Working principles of biosensors: fundamental design, operation, and types of biosensors, bio-nano-materials for devices and fabrication methods, examples and applications of biosensors
Lesson 10: Arrays of Nanomaterial-based Sensors: A representative example for the imitation of human senses by means of nanotechnology and sensors: electronic skin based on nanotechnology.

Learning Outcomes

1. Understanding the importance of nanoscale materials for sensing applications.
2. Knowledge on the approaches used for characterizing sensors based nanomaterials.
3. Knowledge on the approaches used for tailoring nanomaterials for a specific sensing application.
4. Knowledge of metallic and semiconductor nanoparticles.
5. Knowledge of organic and inorganic nanotubes and nanowires.
6. Knowledge of optical, mechanical and chemical sensors based on nanomaterials.
7. Knowledge of hybrid nanomaterial-based sensors.


  • Jiří Janata, Principles of Chemical Sensors, Springer, 2d Edition (1989).
  • Roger George Jackson, Novel Sensors and Sensing, CRC Press (2004).

External Evaluator

Professor Barak Miriam, Faculty of Education in Science & Technology, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Responsible Academic

Prof. Hossam Haick (TECHNION)

Awarded ECTS