Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Micheal J. Sepaniak

Committee Members

Howard L. Hall, James A. Bradshaw, Robert N. Compton, Frank Vogt


Often the need to analyze a large number of samples coincide with critical time consternates. At such times, the implementation of high-throughput technologies is paramount. In this work we explore some viable pathways for high-throughput analysis and develop advancements in novel forms of detection of materials that are vital in the environmental, biological as well as national security arenas. Through the use of new protocols with high sensitivity and specificity as well as simplified chemical processing and sample preparation we aim to allow for improved throughput, fieldable detection, and rapid data acquisition of extensive sample sets. The methods developed in this work focus on unique platforms of the collection and analysis and combine them with automation and portability. Foremost, analytes of interest must be selectively isolated and concentrated by chemical and/or mechanical processes. Secondly, spectroscopic and physical properties are exploited and enhanced by employing viable detection platforms. Finally, automation and field portability are implemented through a combination of optimized robotics, minimized chemical preparation and/or unique lab on a chip type platforms. Presented are two sub areas of research. One focuses on the automation of a time consuming solid phase extraction process that is coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry increasing sample throughput by orders of magnitude. The second focused on the fabrication and use of silicon nanopillars as a platform for separations and enhanced optical analysis. Each section of work focuses on the development of a practical, accessible, and deployable methods of analysis.

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