Nano Research

Article Title

Illumination-dependent free carrier screening effect on the performance evolution of ZnO piezotronic strain sensor


piezotronics, barrier height, ultraviolet illumination, surface absorption, screening effect


Performance modulation of ZnO optoelectronic devices in the presence of proper piezoelectric polarization charges has been widely reported, whereas relatively less work has been performed about the influence of photoexcitation on piezotronics. In this study, we experimentally investigated the performance evolution of ZnO piezotronic strain sensor under various 365 nm UV irradiation densities. The device demonstrated a response ratio of ~200 under no illumination and under −0.53% compressive strain, and the response time is approximately 0.3 s. However, tremendous performance degradation was observed with the increase in the illumination density, which is attributed to the UV-modulated change in the free electron concentration and Schottky barrier height. It was observed that increased carrier density intensifies the screening effect and thus, the modulation ability of piezo-polarization charges weakens. Meanwhile, the deterioration of rectifying behavior at the interface under UV illumination also jeopardizes the device performance.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press