A new approach for the attachment of vertically-aligned shortened carbon nanotube architectures to a silicon (100) substrate by chemical anchoring directly to the surface has been demonstrated for the first time. The ordered assembly of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) was accomplished by hydroxylating the silicon surface followed by a condensation reaction with carboxylic acid functionalised SWCNTs. This new nanostructure has been characterised by X-ray photoelectron, Raman and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy as well as scanning electron and atomic force microscopy. The assembly behaviour of SWCNTs onto the silicon surface shows a fast initial step producing isolated functionalised carbon nanotubes or nanotube bundles anchored to the silicon surface followed by a slower step where the adsorbed nanotubes grow into larger aggregates via van der Waals interactions between adsorbed and solvated nanotubes. The electrochemical and optical properties of the SWCNTs directly attached to silicon have also been investigated. These new nanostructures are excellent electrochemical electrodes. They also fluoresce in the wavelength range 650–800 nm. The successful attachment of the SWCNTs directly to silicon provides a simple, new avenue for fabrication and development of silicon-based nanoelectronic, nano-optoelectronic and sensing devices. Compared to existing techniques, this new approach has several advantages including low operating temperature, low cost and the possibility of further modification.