Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Strain-Gating Piezotronics: Researchers Create New Class of Piezoelectric Logic Devices Using Zinc Oxide Nanowires

Georgia Tech researchers measure the performance of an array of zinc oxide nanodevices fabricated on a flexible polymer substrate. (Click image for high-resolution version. Credit: Gary Meek)
Georgia Tech researchers measure the performance of an array of zinc oxide nanodevices fabricated on a flexible polymer substrate. (Click image for high-resolution version. Credit: Gary Meek)

Abstract:
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new class of electronic logic device in which current is switched by an electric field generated by the application of mechanical strain to zinc oxide nanowires.

By John Toon

Strain-Gating Piezotronics: Researchers Create New Class of Piezoelectric Logic Devices Using Zinc Oxide Nanowires

Atlanta, GA | Posted on September 3rd, 2010

The devices, which include transistors and diodes, could be used in nanometer-scale robotics, nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS), micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and microfluidic devices. The mechanical action used to initiate the strain could be as simple as pushing a button, or be created by the flow of a liquid, stretching of muscles or the movement of a robotic component.

In traditional field-effect transistors, an electrical field switches - or "gates" - the flow of electrical current through a semiconductor. Instead of using an electrical signal, the new logic devices create the switching field by mechanically deforming zinc oxide nanowires. The deformation creates strain in the nanowires, generating an electric field through the piezoelectric effect - which creates electrical charge in certain crystalline materials when they are subjected to mechanical strain.

"When we apply a strain to a nanowire placed across two metal electrodes, we create a field, which is strong enough to serve as the gating voltage," said Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents professor in the Georgia Tech School of Materials Science and Engineering. "This type of device would allow mechanical action to be interfaced with electronics, and could be the basis for a new form of logic device that uses the piezoelectric potential in place of a gate voltage."

Wang, who has published a series of articles on the devices in such journals as Nano Letters, Advanced Materials and Applied Physics Letters, calls this new class of nanometer-scale device "piezotronics" because they use piezoelectric potential to tune and gate the charge transport process in semiconductors. The devices rely on the unique properties of zinc oxide nanostructures, which are both semiconducting and piezoelectric.

The transistors and diodes add to the family of nanodevices developed by Wang and his research team, and could be combined into systems in which all components are based on the same zinc oxide material. The researchers have previously announced development of nanometer-scale generators that produce a voltage by converting mechanical motion from the environment, and nanowire sensors for measuring pH and detecting ultraviolet light.

"The family of devices we have developed can be joined together to create self-powered, autonomous and intelligent nanoscale systems," Wang said. "We can create complex systems totally based on zinc oxide nanowires that have memory, processing, and sensing capabilities powered by electrical energy scavenged from the environment."

Using strain-gated transistors fabricated on a flexible polymer substrate, the researchers have demonstrated basic logic operations - including NOR, XOR and NAND gates and multiplexer/demultiplexer functions - by simply applying different types of strain to the zinc oxide nanowires. They have also created an inverter by placing strain-gated transistors on both sides of a flexible substrate.

"Using the strain-gated transistor as a building block, we can build complicated logic," Wang added. "This is the first time that a mechanical action has been used to create a logic operation."

A strain-gated transistor is made of a single zinc oxide nanowire with its two ends - the source and drain electrodes - fixed to a polymer substrate by metal contacts. Flexing the devices reverses their polarity as the strain changes from compressive to tensile on opposite sides.

The devices operate at low frequencies - the kind created by human interaction and the ambient environment - and would not challenge traditional CMOS transistors for speed in conventional applications. The devices respond to very small mechanical forces, Wang noted.

The Georgia Tech group has also learned to control conductivity in zinc oxide nanodevices using laser emissions that take advantage of the unique photo-excitation properties of the material. When ultraviolet light from a laser strikes a metal contact attached to a zinc oxide structure, it creates electron-hole pairs which change the height of the Schottky barrier at the zinc oxide-metal contact.

These conductivity-changing characteristics of the laser emissions can be used in tandem with alterations in mechanical strain to provide more precise control over the conducting capabilities of a device.

"The laser improves the conductivity of the structure," Wang noted. "The laser effect is in contrast to the piezoelectric effect. The laser effect reduces the barrier height, while the piezoelectric effect increases the barrier height."

Wang has called these new devices fabricated by coupling piezoelectric, photon excitation and semiconductor properties "piezo-phototronic" devices.

The research group has also created hybrid logic devices that use zinc oxide nanowires to control current moving through single-walled carbon nanotubes. The nanotubes, which were produced by researchers at Duke University, can be either p-type or n-type.

The research has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In addition to Wang, the research team includes Wenzhuo Wu, Yaguang Wei, Youfan Hu, Weihua Liu, Minbaek Lee, Yan Zhang, Yanling Chang, Shu Xiang, Lei Ding, Jie Liu and Robert Snyder.

"Our work with strain-gated devices provides a new approach to logic operations that performs mechanical-electrical actions in one structural unit using a single material," Wang noted. "These transistors could provide new processing and memory capabilities in very small and portable devices."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Relations Assistance: John Toon or Abby Vogel Robinson

Copyright © Georgia Institute of Technology

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

New qubit now works without breaks: A universal design for superconducting qubits has been created April 19th, 2018

Observing biological nanotransporters: Chemistry April 19th, 2018

Grand Opening of UC Irvine Materials Research Institute (IMRI) to Spotlight JEOL Center for Nanoscale Solutions: Renowned Materials Scientists to Present at the 1st International Symposium on Advanced Microscopy and Spectroscopy (ISAMS) April 18th, 2018

Salt boosts creation of 2-D materials: Rice University scientists show how salt lowers reaction temperatures to make novel materials April 18th, 2018

Microfluidics/Nanofluidics

Leti to Demo New Curving Technology at Photonics West that Improves Performance of Optical Components January 18th, 2018

Nanotubes go with the flow to penetrate brain tissue: Rice University scientists, engineers develop microfluidic devices, microelectrodes for gentle implantation December 19th, 2017

Leti Develops World’s First Micro-Coolers for CERN Particle Detectors: Leti Design, Fabrication and Packaging Expertise Extends to Very Large Scientific Instruments December 11th, 2017

Using light to propel water : With new method, MIT engineers can control and separate fluids on a surface using only visible light April 25th, 2017

NEMS

One string to rule them all April 17th, 2018

Leti Scientists Participating in Sessions on Med Tech, Automotive Technologies, MEMS, Si-photonics and Lithography at SEMICON Europa: Teams also Will Demonstrate Technology Advances in Telecom, Data Fusion, Energy, Silicon Photonics and 3D Integration October 18th, 2016

Integration of novel materials with silicon chips makes new 'smart' devices possible July 25th, 2016

Nano-photonics meets nano-mechanics: Controlling on-chip nano-optics by graphene nano-opto-mechanics January 22nd, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Salt boosts creation of 2-D materials: Rice University scientists show how salt lowers reaction temperatures to make novel materials April 18th, 2018

Quantum shift shows itself in coupled light and matter: Rice University scientists corral, quantify subtle movement in condensed matter system April 16th, 2018

When superconductivity disappears in the core of a quantum tube: By replacing the electrons with ultra-cold atoms, a group of physicists has created a perfectly clean material, unveiling new states of matter at the quantum level April 16th, 2018

Quantum physicists achieve entanglement record: Largest entangled quantum register of individually controllable systems to date April 15th, 2018

Possible Futures

New qubit now works without breaks: A universal design for superconducting qubits has been created April 19th, 2018

Observing biological nanotransporters: Chemistry April 19th, 2018

Salt boosts creation of 2-D materials: Rice University scientists show how salt lowers reaction temperatures to make novel materials April 18th, 2018

Individual impurity atoms detectable in graphene April 18th, 2018

Academic/Education

Grand Opening of UC Irvine Materials Research Institute (IMRI) to Spotlight JEOL Center for Nanoscale Solutions: Renowned Materials Scientists to Present at the 1st International Symposium on Advanced Microscopy and Spectroscopy (ISAMS) April 18th, 2018

Lifeboat Foundation funds flying 3D-printed classroom cubesats with Perlan II April 16th, 2018

SUNY Poly’s Center for Semiconductor Research in Albany Earns World-Class TÜV SÜD AMERICA INC. ISO 9001:2015 Certification: Albany NanoTech Complex Certification Assures Top-Tier Quality in Semiconductor Test Structures; Certification a First for a SUNY Campus March 6th, 2018

Luleå University of Technology is using the Deben CT5000TEC stage to perform x-ray microtomography experiments with the ZEISS Xradia 510 Versa to understand deformation and strain inside inhomogeneous materials November 7th, 2017

MEMS

HTA to Present European Strategy for Competitive Micro- and Nanotechnologies & Smart Systems: Special Event in Brussels on April 24 Gathers Research Institutes’ CEOs, European Commissioners and Key European Industrials April 17th, 2018

New approach to measuring stickiness could aid micro-device design March 8th, 2018

MEMS chips get metatlenses: Combining metasurface lenses with MEMS technology could add high-speed scanning and enhance focusing capability of optical systems February 21st, 2018

First Capacitive Transducer with 13nm Gap July 27th, 2017

Molecular Machines

Tiny nanomachine successfully completes test drive: Researchers at the University of Bonn and the research institute Caesar build a one-wheeled vehicle out of DNA rings April 11th, 2018

Piecework at the nano assembly line: Electric fields drive nano-motors a 100,000 times faster than previous methods January 22nd, 2018

'Gyroscope' molecules form crystal that's both solid and full of motion: New type of molecular machine designed by UCLA researchers could have wide-ranging applications in technology and science January 16th, 2018

Going swimmingly: Biotemplates breakthrough paves way for cheaper nanobots: By using bacterial flagella as a template for silica, researchers have demonstrated an easier way to make propulsion systems for nanoscale swimming robots November 30th, 2017

Chip Technology

New qubit now works without breaks: A universal design for superconducting qubits has been created April 19th, 2018

Salt boosts creation of 2-D materials: Rice University scientists show how salt lowers reaction temperatures to make novel materials April 18th, 2018

When superconductivity disappears in the core of a quantum tube: By replacing the electrons with ultra-cold atoms, a group of physicists has created a perfectly clean material, unveiling new states of matter at the quantum level April 16th, 2018

Nanometrics to Announce First Quarter Financial Results on May 1, 2018 April 10th, 2018

Sensors

Salt boosts creation of 2-D materials: Rice University scientists show how salt lowers reaction temperatures to make novel materials April 18th, 2018

Doing the nano-shimmy: New device modulates light and amplifies tiny signals April 12th, 2018

Scientists Use Nanotechnology to Detect Molecular Biomarker for Osteoarthritis March 13th, 2018

Graphene on toast, anyone? Rice University scientists create patterned graphene onto food, paper, cloth, cardboard February 13th, 2018

Nanoelectronics

New qubit now works without breaks: A universal design for superconducting qubits has been created April 19th, 2018

Non-toxic filamentous virus helps quickly dissipate heat generated by electronic devices April 4th, 2018

Ancient paper art, kirigami, poised to improve smart clothing: New research shows how paper-cutting can make ultra strong, stretchable electronics April 3rd, 2018

Understanding charge transfers in molecular electronics March 30th, 2018

Announcements

New qubit now works without breaks: A universal design for superconducting qubits has been created April 19th, 2018

Observing biological nanotransporters: Chemistry April 19th, 2018

Grand Opening of UC Irvine Materials Research Institute (IMRI) to Spotlight JEOL Center for Nanoscale Solutions: Renowned Materials Scientists to Present at the 1st International Symposium on Advanced Microscopy and Spectroscopy (ISAMS) April 18th, 2018

Salt boosts creation of 2-D materials: Rice University scientists show how salt lowers reaction temperatures to make novel materials April 18th, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project