Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Shekhar Bhansali, Ph.D

Committee Member

Rudy Schlaf, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sanjuktha Bhanja, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Qiang Huang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Xiao Li, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Elliman, Ph.D.


Nanowires, Silica, Ion implantation, Vapor liquid solid, Catalyst


In this research, selective and bottom-up manufacturing of silica nanowires on silicon (Si) and its applications has been investigated. Localized synthesis of these nanowires on Si was achieved by metal thin film catalysis and metal ion implantation based seeding approach. The growth mechanism of the nanowires followed a vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) mechanism. Mass manufacturing aspects such as growth rate, re-usability of the substrate and experimental growth model were also investigated. Further, silica nanowires were explored as surface enhanced Raman (SER) substrate and immunoassay templates towards optical and electrochemical detection of cancer biomarkers respectively. Investigating their use in photonic applications, optically active silica nanowires were synthesized by erbium implantation after nanowire growth and implantation of erbium as a metal catalyst in Si to seed the nanowires.

Ion implantation of Pd in Si and subsequent annealing in Ar at 1100° C for 60 mins in an open tube furnace resulted in silica nanowires of diameters ranging from 15 to 90 nm. Similarly, Pt was sputtered on to Si and further annealed to obtain silica nanowires of diameters ranging from 50 to 500 nm. Transmission electron microscopy studies revealed the amorphous nature of the wires. In addition, nano-sized Pd catalyst was found along the body of the nanowires seeded by Pd implantation into Si. After functionalization of the wires with 3-AminoPropylTriMethoxySilane (APTMS), the Pd decorated silica nanowires served as an SER substrate exhibiting a sensitivity of 107 towards the detection of interleukin-10 (IL-10, a cancer biomarker) with higher spatial resolution. Voltammetric detection of IL-10 involved silica nanowires synthesized by Pd thin film catalysis on Si as an immunoassay template. Using the electrochemical scheme, the presence of IL-10 was detected down to 1fg/mL in ideal pure solution and 1 pg/mL in clinically relevant samples.

Time resolved photoluminescence (PL) results from the Er doped silica nanowires indicate a sharp emission around 1.54 µm representative of the I13/2 to I15/2 transition in Erbium. Also, a five-fold increase in the PL intensity and 30% augment in luminescence life time have been observed in nanowires when compared to fused silica sample prepared under similar conditions.

The experimental results indicate the potential of silica nanowires in a wide variety of applications such as the development of orthogonal biosensors, fabrication of metallic nanowires, and environmental sensing probes.