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Fabrication of Functional Nanowire Devices on Unconventional Substrates Using Strain-Release Assembly

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journal contribution
posted on 23.01.2013, 00:00 authored by John W. Durham, Yong Zhu
We report three representative nanowire (NW) devices for applications in stretchable electronics, strain sensing, and optical sensing. Fabrication of such devices is based on a recently developed strain-release assembly method. NWs are first aligned transversely on an elastomeric substrate using the strain-release assembly. Constant resistance is achieved in silicon (Si) NW devices stretched up to ∼40% of axial strain, highlighting a new concept of transverse buckling. Combining the NW assembly with transfer printing extends suitable device substrates beyond elastomers to other unconventional materials (e.g., flexible and transparent materials). Following this combined process, flexible SiNW strain sensors are fabricated on plastics capable of sensing up to 1.6% bending strain and gauge factors >1000; flexible zinc oxide NW ultraviolet sensors are demonstrated with quick recovery (∼2 s) and excellent repeatability on plastics. Our results show promise for the strain-release assembly as a simple and cost-effective process to fabricate NW devices on unconventional substrates.