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Automated Electrical Measurements of Single ZnO Nanowire with Cu and Au Electrodes Under Axial Strain

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The electrical characteristics of single ZnO nanowire (NW) under axial strain were characterized using Cu and Au as electrodes, which revealed ohmic-type contact in ZnO–Cu and Schotkky barrier in ZnO–Au. The measurement system was built inside the vacuum chamber of a scanning electron microscope and featured a fully automated nano-manipulation platform to control two tungsten probes and a commercial atomic force microscope cantilever to support the NW. Metal contacts were sputtered on laterally oriented NW post assembly. Applying force on the free end of the cantilever deformed the NW synchronously, altering its resistance at a fixed voltage. Owing to dimensional changes of the NW and intrinsic piezoresistance of ZnO, the resistivity of pristine ZnO–Cu at 2.22 × 10–1 Ω cm was shown to decrease linearly by as much as 7% with tensile strain, while it was shown to increase to as much as 4% with compressive strain. In contrast, the resistivity characteristic of pristine ZnO–Au at 1.25 Ω cm revealed a linear increase of 12% with tensile strain, mainly because of strain-induced piezoelectric effect at the Schottky barrier. The markedly different response of ZnO–Cu and ZnO–Au under axial strain underscored the significant influence of the contact electrodes to functional NW sensors. The results also showed that the electrical characteristics of strained NW can be analyzed using a simple model that takes into account the resistance variation due to piezoresistivity, piezoelectric effect, and dimensional changes of the device.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2015

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  • Science of Advanced Materials (SAM) is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal consolidating research activities in all aspects of advanced materials in the fields of science, engineering and medicine into a single and unique reference source. SAM provides the means for materials scientists, chemists, physicists, biologists, engineers, ceramicists, metallurgists, theoreticians and technocrats to publish original research articles as reviews with author's photo and short biography, full research articles and communications of important new scientific and technological findings, encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all latest aspects of advanced materials.
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