Nano piezoelectronics to create new devices?

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Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have used the coupled semiconducting and piezoelectric properties of zinc oxide nanowires to create a new class of electronic components and devices that could provide the foundation for a broad range of new applications.

So far, the researchers have demonstrated field effect transistors, diodes, sensors and current producing nanogenerators that operate by bending zinc oxide nanowires and nanobelts. The new components take advantage of the relationship between the mechanical and electronic coupled behaviour of piezoelectric nanomaterials, which the researchers call ‘nano piezotronics’. Nano piezotronics relies on the fact that when nanowires or nanobelts made from piezoelectric materials are bent, a charge separation is produced – positive on one side and negative on the other. The connection between bending and charge creation has also been used to create nanogenerators that produce measurable electrical currents. “Nano piezotronics uses the coupling of piezoelectric and semiconducting properties to fabricate novel electronic components,” said Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents Professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “These devices could provide the fundamental building blocks that would allow us to create a new area of electronics.”