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Piezotronics and piezo-phototronics for adaptive electronics and optoelectronics

Abstract

Low-dimensional piezoelectric semiconductor nanomaterials, such as ZnO and GaN, have superior mechanical properties and can be integrated into flexible devices that can be subjected to large strain. More importantly, the coupling between piezoelectric polarization and semiconductor properties (for example, electronic transport and photoexcitation) in these materials gives rise to unprecedented device characteristics. This has increased research interest in the emerging fields of piezotronics and piezo-phototronics, which offer new means of manipulating charge-carrier transport, generation, recombination or separation in the controlled operation of flexible devices through the application of external mechanical stimuli. We review the recent progress in advancing our fundamental understanding and in realizing practical applications of piezotronics and piezo-phototronics, and provide an in-depth discussion of future research directions.

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Figure 1: New research directions and applications of piezotronics and piezo-phototronics.
Figure 2: Array integration of vertical-nanowire piezotronic transistors for pressure imaging.
Figure 3: Piezotronics in atomically thin piezoelectric semiconductors.
Figure 4: Piezo-phototronic LED array for pressure imaging.
Figure 5: Piezo-phototronic luminescence devices for adaptive sensing.
Figure 6: Numerical simulations of strain-induced band deformation and device operation in piezo-phototronics.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful for the support from the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences (Award DE-FG02-07ER46394), the National Science Foundation (DMR-1505319), and the Thousand Talents program for a pioneer researcher and his innovation team, China. W.Z.W. is grateful to the College of Engineering and School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University for the start-up support.

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Wu, W., Wang, Z. Piezotronics and piezo-phototronics for adaptive electronics and optoelectronics. Nat Rev Mater 1, 16031 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/natrevmats.2016.31

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