Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Michael J. Sepaniak

Committee Members

Tessa Calhoun, Jimmy W. Mays, Panos G. Datskos


The purpose of this dissertation is to present the effective utilization of nano-structures and nano-mechanics in conjunction with surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and micro-cantilever (MC) mechanical sensors for sensitive analytical detection. One of the most important attributes an Analytical Chemist can possess is the ability to develop and efficiently use the tools provided to obtain precise and accurate information that can be effectively communicated. The following is a brief outline of the background concepts and studies that will be present herein.

A discussion of SERS will be presented in which the history and concepts behind the technique will be communicated as it pertains to the work in this dissertation. The theory behind SERS, including the electromagnetic effect and chemical effect will be conveyed, along with two separate manuscripts that include the use of SERS detection in micro-fabricated pillar arrays that have been enhanced through the presence of silver colloid. Each manuscript included an analytical treatment of the results to ensure a complete study of the system.

A second discussion will include thin-layer chromatography development and theories that can be applied to one of the manuscripts presented. Some of the metrics involved in separations in ultra-thin layer chromatography (UTLC) will be examined, along with a study combining SERS with UTLC to demonstrate an efficient separation and detection platform. The fabrication of the pillar arrays will also be described.

The final discussion and study will involve the use of micro-cantilevers (MCs) as a mechanical sensor. The discussion will include a brief history of MCs and description of the mechanics involved. Detection methods and optimization of the system will also be discussed. The study will propose the use of a porous silicon oxide active layer on the MCs as a method of detecting trace HF gas sensitively. An analytical treatment of the results is also included.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."