Piezotronic effect on the sensitivity and signal level of schottky contacted proactive micro/nanowire nanosensors

Caofeng Pan, Ruomeng Yu, Simiao Niu, Guang Zhu, Zhong Lin Wang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrated the first piezoelectric effect on the performance of a pH sensor using an MSM back-to-back Schottky contacted ZnO micro/nanowire device. When the device is subjected to an external strain, a piezopotential is created in the micro/nanowire, which tunes the effective heights of the Schottky barriers at the local contacts, consequently increasing the sensitivity and signal level of the sensors. Furthermore, the strain-produced piezopotential along the ZnO micro/nanowire will lead to a nonuniform distribution of the target molecules near the micro/nanowire surface owing to electrostatic interaction, which will make the sensor proactive to detect the target molecules even at extremely low overall concentration, which naturally improves the sensitivity and lowers the detection limit. A theoretical model is proposed to explain the observed performance of the sensor using the energy band diagram. This prototype device offers a new concept for designing supersensitive and fast-response micro/nanowire sensors by introducing an external strain and piezotronic effect, which may have great applications in building sensors with fast response and reset time, high selectivity, high sensitivity, and good signal-to-noise ratio for chemical, biochemical, and gas sensing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1803-1810
Number of pages8
JournalACS Nano
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Schottky contacted sensor
  • ZnO wires
  • pH sensor
  • piezotronic effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)
  • Engineering (all)
  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


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