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Adv Mater. 2011 Jul 19;23(27):3004-13. doi: 10.1002/adma.201100906. Epub 2011 May 11.

Fundamental theory of piezotronics.

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School of Material Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, 30332-0245, USA.


Due to polarization of ions in crystals with noncentral symmetry, such as ZnO, GaN, and InN, a piezoelectric potential (piezopotential) is created in the crystal when stress is applied. Electronics fabricated using the inner-crystal piezopotential as a gate voltage to tune or control the charge transport behavior across a metal/semiconductor interface or a p-n junction are called piezotronics. This is different from the basic design of complimentary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) field-effect transistors and has applications in force and pressure triggered or controlled electronic devices, sensors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), human-computer interfacing, nanorobotics, and touch-pad technologies. Here, the theory of charge transport in piezotronic devices is investigated. In addition to presenting the formal theoretical frame work, analytical solutions are presented for cases including metal-semiconductor contact and p-n junctions under simplified conditions. Numerical calculations are given for predicting the current-voltage characteristics of a general piezotronic transistor: metal-ZnO nanowire-metal device. This study provides important insight into the working principles and characteristics of piezotronic devices, as well as providing guidance for device design.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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