Sensors Research


Snapshots of our Work:

Surface Plasmon Resonance

Environmental Arsenic Sensing

Fluorescence Spectroscopy

Important Links:

  1.   How SPR Works

  2.   How Fluorescence Works




What is the Problem?

A great deal of research effort has been allocated to the development and optimization of sensor coatings to capture one or more target compounds or molecules.  The coating, however, is one of multiple critical pieces of the system design. The sensor coating (or functionalization) of a sensor platform ensures that a target compound or molecule binds to an immobilized platform. Once immobilized or bound, the binding information must be transduced, typically into an electrical signal that can be read and interpreted via a meaningful user interface.  Research attention to the back end of these sensor systems is often lacking.   

Why is it important?

Without optimized measurement of a sensor signal, accuracy, precision, and other parameter are often compromised.   Without appropriate signal processing, it may be impossible to distinguish the target compound or molecule from chemical interferents (= other chemicals) or environmental interferents (humidity, temperature, etc.).  Without attention to the sensor as part of a whole system, the best commercial solution can remain out of reach. 

Where does our team fit?

Our research emphasizes making sensors “smart” by optimizing the sensor interface, measurement, and signal processing to match specific applications.   Much of our work also seeks to develop new paradigms of sensor that allow large, laboratory-scale instrumentation to be implemented in field portable sensor footprints.  

Select Publications

  1. 1.Jeffrey Kissinger and Denise Wilson (2011) Portable Fluorescence Lifetime Detection for Chlorophyll Analysis in Marine Environments. IEEE Sensors Journal, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 288-295.

  2. 2.Matthew Johnston, Lisa E. Hansen, Denise M. Wilson, and Karl S. Booksh (2007) System-on-Chip Circuit Architecture for Eliminating Interferents in Surface Plasmon Resonance Sensing Systems. IEEE Sensors Journal, vol. 7, no. 10, pp. 1400-1412.

  3. 3.Andrew E. Moe, Steve Marx, Naureen Banani, Matthew Liu, Brian Marquardt, and Denise M. Wilson (2005) Improvements in LED-based Fluorescence Analysis Systems.  Sensors and Actuators B, vol. 111-112, pp. 240-241.

  4. 4.Carina K. Leung and Denise M. Wilson (2005) Integrated Circuits for Chemiresistor Arrays, International Symposium on Circuits and Systems:  Kobe, Japan.

University of Washington  |  College of Engineering  |  Electrical Engineering

Contact us:

Professor Denise Wilson

Department of Electrical Engineering

University of Washington

Seattle, Washington 98195-2500

206-221-5238;  denisew (at)