Nanoscale Sensor Technology

University of Cincinnati


University of Cincinnati


The Center of Excellence in Nanoscale Sensor Technology will develop innovative, breakthrough technology to provide the next generation of nano- and microscale sensors for chemical, biological, medical, and environmental applications. Nanosensors are poised to become ubiquitous in modern life by providing the foundation for rapid and sophisticated medical diagnostics, and being utilized for monitoring the safety of the food chain, keeping the quality of water high by guiding environmental remediation, even monitoring the aging of bridges and highways. Imagining, developing, prototyping and commercializing nanoscale sensors require a strong team of interdisciplinary researchers with expertise that spans the spectrum of the disciplines of electrical and chemical engineering, chemistry, physics, and biology. The University of Cincinnati already has that collaborative team in place, with talented researchers from engineering, physics, and chemistry.

Driving Economic Advancement

This Center of Excellence would propel activities from bench-top innovation to commercialization and real-world application of fully packaged and deployable systems. An outstanding example is Siloam Biosciences, where UC research led by Dr. Chong Ahn on "lab-on-chip" medical sensor platforms is now in the prototype stage; venture capital has been secured and commercialization started in 2010. Researchers within the Center will generate innovative sensor concepts, including miniaturization to the micro and nano scales; innovative sensor arrays to provide redundancy for minimizing error due to sensor failure; and innovative microfluidic systems to pave the way for sophisticated sensor deployment in real environments, including sampling and calibration. This Center will fill vital skill shortages in Ohio, by graduating highly qualified Ph.D.s who will enter Ohio's workforce, while also attracting workers and firms from outside Ohio.


  • Internationally recognized for its strong interdisciplinary program in sensors research that spans departments in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Engineering and Applied Science


  • Develop a robust and sustainable interdisciplinary collaboration model for engaging faculty across the disciplines within the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, College of Medicine, and College of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Double external federal funding
  • Increase interaction with industry and commitment to commercialization


  • Total research expenditures: $11M (2004-2008)
  • Invention disclosures: 73 (2004-2008)
  • Start- up companies: 3 (2004-2008)
  • Average Ph.D. salary for jobs in this cluster: $80K