Vivek Maheshwari

Professor, Chemistry

Research interests: nanoparticle based thin film sensors; nanocomposite films; materials and tools for bio-nano devices, systems


During his PhD in Nebraska, Professor Vivek Maheshwari developed a nanoparticle based thin film tactile sensor with capabilities on par with human skin and worked on its application as a tumor sensor for breast cancer.

Maheshwari’s research interests include synthesis and assembly of nanomaterials, ion based devices, energy harnessing and cellular electronics. The aim is to develop materials for application in new electronic devices, sensors and integration of cells with an electronic interface. He is also working on making dynamic sensors, using nanoscale viscoelasticity.

Maheshwari joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Waterloo in June 2009. He was a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, from 2007-2009. He received his PhD from Virginia Tech. During this time, he developed a technique for self-assembly of nanoparticles, resulting in a room temperature single electron sensitive device. His research during MS was on rheology of polymer and the use and development of rheo-optical methods to study characteristics of polymer melts and role of tacticity on polymer characteristics.


  • PhD, Chemical Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2007

  • Ms, Chemical Engineering, Wayne State University, 2001

  • BTech, Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, 1998

Vivek Maheshwari


Professor Maheshwari’s group works in three key areas; synthesis and assembly of electronic material and devices, testing and analysis of the devices for further research and applications. The group’s research is geared towards development of devices such as dynamic sensors, ionic conductivity based electronics and room temperature quantum effect devices. A major focus is also on development of bio-nano-electronic devices where a cell is interfaced with nano-materials to translate the cell’s chemical activity into electrical signal.

Nano material research

Quantum dots, nano-wires, graphene, nano-tubes, DNA-electronics, ions-electronics, electrochemistry are some of the actively researched nano materials today. Professor Maheshwari’s research focus is on developing materials that exhibit quantum characteristics at room temperature and can be assembled to form functional structures. The functional structures due to both, their characteristics and size are suited for building bio-electronic devices and sensors. Since the structures can be multi-component systems they can be tailored with desired multi-functionality to dynamic sensors and devices. In this respect one of the primary focus is on the use of atomic ions for making multi-component systems.

Testing and characterization to gauge performance

The final step for gauging the performance of the materials assembled as a device is testing and characterization. The analysis clarifies the interplay between different materials that make up the device and directs the future work of modifying both the assembly of the nanomaterials and their characteristics to improve device performance.

Research interests

  • Biomimetic sensors

  • Cellular electronics

  • Ion based devices

  • Nanomaterial synthesis and self assembly

  • Energy harnessing


Recent publications include:

  • J. Tam, S. Salgado, M. Miltenburg, V. Maheshwari, “Electrochemical synthesis on single cells as templates”,Chemical Communications, 49(77), 8641-8643 (2013)
  • S. Salgado, L. Pu, V. Maheshwari, “Targeting Chemical Morphology of Graphene Oxide for Self-Assembly and Subsequent Templating of Nanoparticles: A Composite Approaching Capacitance Limits in Graphene”, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 116(22), 12124-12130 (2012)
  • N. Chieu, V. Maheshwari, R.F. Saraf, “Ultrasoft 100 nm Thick Zero Poisson's Ratio Film with 60% Reversible Compressibility”, Nano Letters, 12(4), 2171-2175 (2012)
  • R. Kempaiah, A. Chung, V. Maheshwari, “Graphene as Cellular Interface: Electromechanical Coupling with Cells”,ACS Nano, 5(7), 6025-6031 (2011)
  • M. Wu, R. Kempaiah, P-J. Huang, V. Maheshwari, J. Liu, “Adsorption and Desorption of DNA on Graphene Oxide Studied by Fluorescently Labeled Oligonucleotides”,Langmuir, 27(6), 2731-2738 (2011)
  • R. Kempaiah, S. Salgado, W.L. Chung, V. Maheshwari, “Graphene as membrane for encapsulation of yeast cells: protective and electrically conducting”, Chemical Communications, 47(41), 11480-11482 (2011)
  • V. Maheshwari, D.E. Fomenko, G. Singh, R.F. Saraf, “Ion Mediated Monolayer Deposition of Gold Nanoparticles on Microorganisms: Discrimination by Age”, Langmuir, 26(1), 371-377 (2010)
  • S. Kundu, V. Maheshwari, S. Niu, R.F. Saraf, “Polyelectrolyte mediated scalable synthesis of highly stable silver nanocubes in less than a minute using microwave irradiation”, Nanotechnology, 19(6), (2008).
  • S. Kundu, V. Maheshwari, R.F. Saraf, “Photolytic metallization of an nanoclusters and electrically conducting micrometer long nanostructures on a DNA scaffold”,Langmuir, 24(2), 551-555 (2008)
  • V. Maheshwari, R.F. Saraf, “Tactile devices to sense touch on a par with a human finger”, Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, 47(41), 7808-7826 (2008)
  • S. Kundu, V. Maheshwari, S. Niu, R.F. Saraf; “Polyelectrolyte mediated scalable synthesis of highly stable silver nanocubes in less than a minute using microwave irradiations” Nanotechnology, 19, 6, 065604, (2008) (Featured on
  • V. Maheshwari, J. Kane, R.F. Saraf; “Self-Assembly of Microns Long One Dimensional Network of Cemented Au Nanoparticles ”, Advanced Materials, 20, 284-287, (2008) (one of the five most downloaded article for the month)
  • V. Maheshwari, R.F. Saraf; “Mineralization of Monodispersed CdS Nanoparticles on Polyelectrolyte Superstructure forming an Electroluminescent ‘€˜Necklace-of-Beads’” Langmuir, 22, 21, 8623-8626, (2006)
  • V. Maheshwari, R. Saraf; “High Resolution Thin Film Device to Sense Texture by Touch” Science, 312, 1501-1504 June 2006