A zinc oxide nanowire pressure sensor

Van den Heever, Thomas Stanley (2010-12)

Thesis (MScEng (Electrical and Electronic Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Master of Science in Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Measurement of pressure with zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowires was investigated. ZnO exhibits the piezoelectric effect, generating a voltage when pressure is applied to the material. This relationship between pressure and output voltage was used to make a pressure sensor. A study of the physical and mathematical working of the piezoelectric effect in ZnO nanowires was done. Simulations were conducted by means of specialised software to test the theory. The simulations gave results as the theory had predicted. ZnO nanowires were grown using various methods. Vapour liquid solid (VLS) was found to be the best method to grow uniform and dense arrays of ZnO nanowires. Statistical methods were employed to obtain the optimal parameters for the growth of ZnO nanowires through the VLS method. After the growth of the ZnO nanowires a pressure sensor was built. The manufacturing of the pressure sensor consisted of different steps. The sensors were tested to verify that they worked as described in theory and as shown in the simulations. The output voltage was lower than the simulated value due to imperfections and losses throughout the system. The output voltage versus applied pressure graphs did coincide with the bulk ZnO materials as well as related products, such as force sensing resistors. The output voltage is too low, but there are various methods by which the output voltage can be increased. These methods are discussed. The finished sensor can be used to continuously monitor pressure on a plane.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die meting van druk deur sink oksied (ZnO) nanodrade was ondersoek. ZnO toon die piëzo-elektriese effek - spanning word gegenereer wanneer druk op die materiaal aangewend word. Hierdie verhouding tussen druk en uitsetspanning is gebruik om ’n druksensor te vervaardig. ’n Studie van die fisiese en wiskundige werking van die piëzo-elektriese effek in ZnO nanodrade is gedoen. Simulasies deur middel van gespesialiseerde sagteware is uitgevoer om die teorie te bevestig. Die simulasies het resultate getoon soos deur die teorie beskryf word. ZnO nanodrade is gegroei deur verskillende metodes. Verdamping vloeistof vastestof (VVV) is as die beste metode gevind om uniforme en digte skikkings van ZnO nanodrade te kry. Statistiese metodes is aangewend om die optimale parameters vir die groei van ZnO nanodrade deur middel van die VVV metode te kry. Na afloop van die groei van die ZnO nanodrade is ’n druksensor vervaardig. Die vervaardigingsproses het uit verskillende stappe bestaan, ten einde die bou van ’n werkende druksensor uit die ZnO nanodrade te realiseer. Die sensors is getoets om te bevestig dat dit werk, soos beskryf deur die teorie en gewys in die simulasies. Die uitsetspanning was laer as wat verwag was as gevolg van onvolmaakthede en verliese in die hele stelsel. Die uitsetspanning teenoor druk grafieke van die sensor het ooreengestem met die van die grootmaat materiale, asook verwante produkte soos druk sensitiewe weerstande. Die uitset spanning is baie laag en daar bestaan verskillende maniere waarop die uitsetspanning verhoog kan word. Hierdie metodes word bespreek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5369
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