Silicon Nanowires: Pressure Sensors Get a Boost

IME researchers have reported for the first time interesting piezoresistive behaviours exhibited by nanowires. The study was carried out by embedding the nanowires in a cantilever and measuring their piezoresistance when mechanical stress and a transverse electric field were applied. The electric field dramatically augments the electromechanical response by up to 2 orders of magnitude, generating giant piezoresistance in the nanowires. The demonstration of the capability to electrically control piezoresistance in nanowires holds great promise for a new family of electromechanical sensors with tuneable sensitivity for use in miniaturised medical devices that can be tailored for a wide range of functionalities.