Chemiresistors based on metal-insulator-metal structures are attractive transducers for rapid tracing of a wide repertoire of (bio)chemical species in the vapor phase. However, current fabrication techniques suffer greatly from sensor-to-sensor variability, limiting their reproducible and reliable application in real-world settings. We demonstrate a novel, facile, and ubiquitously applicable strategy for fabricating highly reliable and reproducible organothiol-functionalized gold nanoisland-based chemiresistors. The novel fabrication technique involves iterative in situ seeding, growth, and surface functionalization of gold nanoislands on an interdigitated electrode, which in turn generates a multi-layered densely packed continuous gold nanoisland film. The chemiresistors fabricated using the proposed strategy exhibited high sensor-to-sensor reproducibility owing to the controlled iterative seeding and growth-based fabrication technique, long-term stability, and specificity for detection and identification of a wide variety of volatile organic compounds. Upon exposure to a specific odor, the chemiresistor ensemble comprised nine different chemical functionalities and produced a unique and discernable odor fingerprint that is reproducible for at least up to 90 days. Integrating these odor fingerprints with a simple linear classifier was found to be sufficient for discriminating between all six odors used in this study. We believe that the fabrication strategy presented here, which is agnostic to chemical functionality, enables fabrication of highly reliable and reproducible sensing elements, and thereby an adaptable electronic nose for a wide variety of real-world gas sensing applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3207-3217
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 19 2022


  • chemiresistor
  • electronic nose
  • gold nanoisland
  • odor fingerprinting
  • volatile organic compounds


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