Piezoelectric Nanowire Arrays for Highly Accurate, Less Costly Sensor Fabrication

Technology #14976

Hydrothermal Synthesis Simplifies Production, Eliminates Use of Hazardous Chemicals, Expensive Equipment, and Clean Room Technology

These aligned piezoelectric nanowire arrays can be used to create highly accurate dynamic sensors comparable to commercial accelerometers for a fraction of the cost. Piezoelectric nanowires have evoked tremendous curiosity in the field of nanotechnology for energy applications primarily due to their excellent electro-mechanical energy converting capabilities. Power generating Nano-Electro-Mechanical Systems (NEMS) are able to convert several different mechanical energy sources into electric power. Up until now, however, no one has demonstrated the capability of aligned piezoelectric nanowire arrays as a NEMS-based dynamic sensor with a wide operating bandwidth and unity coherence. The available method of building miniature dynamic piezoelectric sensors using micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) based processing techniques requires use of hazardous chemicals, expensive equipment and clean room technology. By using a two-step hydrothermal synthesis process, researchers at the University of Florida have developed a safer, lower-cost, scalable manufacturing process for piezoelectric barium titanate nanowire arrays for use in accelerometers, force sensors, dynamic strain sensors, and acoustic microphones. These arrays show 20 times better sensitivity compared to other nanowire sensors.

Application

Barium titanate nanowire arrays for high sensitivity sensors, including accelerometers, acoustic microphones, and many other devices

Advantages

  • Eliminates use of dangerous chemicals and expensive equipment during production, reducing costs and increasing safety
  • Scalable manufacturing process, increasing productivity
  • Achieves higher sensitivity of sensors, improving performance

Technology

Researchers at the University of Florida have developed ferroelectric barium titanate nanowire arrays capable of highly accurate dynamic sensing. A simple two-step hydrothermal synthesis process produces the vertically aligned single crystal barium titanate nanowire arrays. Hydrothermal synthesis uses high temperature and pressure in a closed system to produce various chemical compounds and materials from an aqueous solution. Upon poling these vertically aligned crystal arrays with an electric field, these nanowires exhibit excellent piezoelectric behavior for utilization in dynamic sensing of mechanical measurands, demonstrating 20 times higher sensitivity than the conventional ZnO nanowire sensor and providing performance comparable to those of commercial accelerometer systems.