Flexible piezotronic strain sensor

Jun Zhou, Yudong Gu, Peng Fei, Wenjie Mai, Yifan Gao, Rusen Yang, Gang Bao, Zhong Lin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

735 Scopus citations


Strain sensors based on individual ZnO piezoelectric fine-wires (PFWs; nanowires, microwires) have been fabricated by a simple, reliable, and cost-effective technique. The electromechanical sensor device consists of a single electrically connected PFW that is placed on the outer surface of a flexible polystyrene (PS) substrate and bonded at its two ends. The entire device is fully packaged by a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) thin layer. The PFW has Schottky contacts at its two ends but with distinctiy different barrier heights. The I-V characteristic is highly sensitive to strain mainly due to the change in Schottky barrier height (SBH), which scales linear with strain. The change in SBH is suggested owing to the strain induced band structure change and piezoelectric effect. The experimental data can be well-described by the thermionic emission-diffusion model. A gauge factor of as high as 1250 has been demonstrated, which is 25% higher than the best gauge factor demonstrated for carbon nanotubes. The strain sensor developed here has applications in strain and stress measurements in cell biology, biomedical sciences, MEMS devices, structure monitoring, and more.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3035-3040
Number of pages6
JournalNano letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2008


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