Friday, September 17, 2010

#Piezotronics Marries #Electronics to Self-Powered #MEMS

Piezotronics is a new research area that fabricates electronic components like transistors and diodes out of self-powering piezoelectric materials. Look for piezotronics to enable self-powered sensors, actuators and eventually general-purpose computing devices over the next decade. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

A Georgia Tech research team has developed a new class of electronic logic device in which current is switched by an electric field generated by the application of mechanical strain to zinc-oxide nanowires (credit: Gary Meek).

Here is what Smarter Technology says about piezotronics: Piezoelectricity is showing promise again with piezotronics, a new category of electronic device that harnesses the relationship between mechanical motion and electricity generation in piezoelectric crystals. A wide variety of naturally occurring and man-made crystals harbor the piezoelectric effect, whereby mechanical motion and the flow of electricity are caused by each other—that is, bending a piezoelectric nanowire causes electricity to flow and, visa versa, running current through a piezoelectric nanowire makes it bend. Now, the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is pioneering a whole array of piezotronic devices that use both effects—acting not only as transducers, but also as self-powered information processors.

A Georgia Tech researcher manipulates and measures nanodevices based on zinc-oxide nanowires fabricated on a flexible polymer substrate (credit: Gary Meek).

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