Our sensors research focuses primarily on chemical and biological sensing, with an emphasis on creative “smart sensor” designs to enable applications of sensors that continue to be inaccessible via conventional sensing paradigms.  Our team has worked with surface plasmon resonance (SPR) using the evanescent field of guided light to detect refractive index and binding of chemicals of interest to functionalized SPR probes; chemiresistive sensor arrays using composite polymers to detect vapor-phase chemicals, LED-based systems for low-cost fluorescence detection, ChemFETs for pH and related electrochemical sensing, and automated colorimetrics to compensate for interferents in liquid media.  Read MORE... here.


Our work in smart sensors has led to a natural extension of our effort to system design.   For example, our work in controlling the spectral output of LEDs for fluorescence analysis has led to an interest in organic LED systems whose instability and degradation require custom feedback circuits to stabilize illumination levels.   Monitoring and management of degradation in organic devices is also applicable to organic photovoltaic (PV) systems, especially portable ones, where individual PV cells become shaded, soiled, or degraded to the point that significant power can be stolen from the overall energy harvesting system.   Management of arrays, whether they be chemical sensors, photovoltaic cells, LEDs, or other device, requires careful attention to the local signal processing and configuration to ensure that the overall system can capitalize on the contributions of individual cells within the system.  Read MORE... here.


Research should complement education and vice versa.  Research in education allows us to ensure that the bridge between these two aspects of academic life converge more than diverge.  Our engineering education research ranges from making advances in basic research to developing tools for engineering educators. Our top priority in all the research we do is to support the engineering community from college through retirement in creating learning and work environments that attract, retain, and support a wide variety of engineers who bring an equally broad range of talents and ways of thinking to the classroom and to the workplace.  We use a wide variety of research methods including surveys, focus groups, interviews, observations, and evaluation of student work to help us attain our research goals.  Read MORE... here.

Sensors, Systems, Education

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)