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ACS Nano. 2010 Oct 26;4(10):6285-91. doi: 10.1021/nn1022878.

Enhancing sensitivity of a single ZnO micro-/nanowire photodetector by piezo-phototronic effect.

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  • 1School of Material Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA.


We demonstrate the piezoelectric effect on the responsivity of a metal-semiconductor-metal ZnO micro-/nanowire photodetector. The responsivity of the photodetector is respectively enhanced by 530%, 190%, 9%, and 15% upon 4.1 pW, 120.0 pW, 4.1 nW, and 180.4 nW UV light illumination onto the wire by introducing a -0.36% compressive strain in the wire, which effectively tuned the Schottky barrier height at the contact by the produced local piezopotential. After a systematic study on the Schottky barrier height change with tuning of the strain and the excitation light intensity, an in-depth understanding is provided about the physical mechanism of the coupling of piezoelectric, optical, and semiconducting properties. Our results show that the piezo-phototronic effect can enhance the detection sensitivity more than 5-fold for pW levels of light detection.

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