Nano-wires as Bio-Detectors

***Archived: This is a past project,  it is not on offer at the moment!***



Nowadays medical diagnosis requires point-of-care biosensor arrays at the patients’ bed. This requirement is due to the new emerging demand for personalized therapies; because therapeutic agents in tissue and blood serum are different on a patient-by-patient basis. Therefore, the development of low-cost, point-of-care technologies for array biochips is a necessary step to introduce personalized therapies in clinical practice. The usually considered micro-array technology based on optical detection and molecular labeling is costly and time consuming. Thus, it is not adapted for applications in Hospital or home based personalized therapy. In this thesis the use of silicon nanowires as biosensor arrays will be investigated with special attention to the Memristic phenomenon of conduction.

The Master Project

In the present study, the memristor effect has been measured on the fabricated silicon nanowire field effect transistors. The memristor effect is strongly sensitive to a variation of surface charge density on the Si nanowires. This in turn can be used for biosensing with functionalized Si nanowire devices. The unfunctionalized nanowire transistors do show an inherent memristive behavior, giving a starting platform for the bio-sensing scheme. Moreover, particular attention has been dedicated to antigene detection. The comparison between before and after functionalization gives a clear indication that antigene binding modifies the memristive pinched hysteresis loop due to the additional charge at the nanowire surface.


  • Designing nano-wires for the project aims
  • Preparing nano-fabricated wires onto silicon wafer 

  • Acquiring electrochemical signals from the nano-structures
Computing the sensing performances obtained by nano-structuring
  • Developing a model describing the sensing


  • Basic knowledge on sensors
  • Basic Knowledge on nanotechnology

  • Experience with electrical measurements with lab equipments

  • Interest in quantum devices

This project was supervised by Sandro Carrara.


***Archived: This is a past project,  it is not on offer at the moment!***