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U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61,623/957 is co-owned by the U.S. government, as represented by the Secretary of Commerce, George Mason University, and the University of Maryland. This invention is a chemical sensor architecture that combines the sensitive transduction capability of semiconducting nanostructures together with the enhanced catalytic efficiency of metal and metal-oxide nanoclusters. Nanowire-nanocluster hybrid chemical sensors are realized by functionalizing gallium nitride (GaN) nanowires (NWs) with titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanolusters for selectively sensing benzene and other related aromatic compounds. The Hybrid sensor devices are made by fabricating two-terminal devices using individual GaN NWs followed by the deposition of TiO2 nanoclusters using RF magnetron sputtering. The sensor fabrication process employed standard microfabrication techniques.