Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Zhou, Weilie

Second Advisor

Trudell, Mark L.

Third Advisor

Wiley, John B.

Fourth Advisor

Poltavets, Viktor


With the rapid progress of nanotechnologies, there are two developing trends for the next generation of sensors: miniaturization and multi-functionality. Device miniaturization requires less power consumption, or even self-powered system. Multi-functional devices are usually based on multi-property coupling effects. Piezoelectric semiconductors have been considered to be potential candidates for self-powered/multi-functional devices due to their piezotronic coupling effect. In this dissertation, ZnO and CdSe nanowire arrays have been synthesized as the piezoelectric semiconductor materials to develop the following self-powered/multi-functional sensors: (1) self-powered gas sensors of ZnO/SnO2, ZnO/In2O3, ZnO/WO3 and CdSe nanowire arrays have been assembled. All these gas sensors are capable of detecting oxidizing gas and reducing gas without any external power supply owing to piezotronic effect which can convert mechanical energies to electrical energy to power the sensors; (2) a self-powered ZnO/ZnSe core/shell nanowire array photodetector has been fabricated. This photodetector is able to detect the entire range of the visible spectrum as well as UV light because of its type II heterostructure. The absolute sensitivity and the percentage change in responsivity of the photodetector were significantly enhanced resulting from the piezo-phototronic effect. The photodetector also exhibited self-powered photodetection behavior; (3) three dimensional nanowire arrays, such as ZnO and ZnO/Co3O4, have been synthesized to investigate piezo-magnetotronic and piezo-photo-magnetotronic effects. Under magnetic field, the magnetic-induced current of ZnO nanowire array decreased as magnetic field increased, and the current difference was magnified by one order of magnitude caused by piezo-magnetotronic effect through applying a stress. In contrast, under UV light illumination, the current response increased with an increment of magnetic field. The current difference was enhanced by at least two orders of magnitude attributed to piezo-photo-magnetotronic effect. Furthermore, ZnO/Co3O4 core/shell structure was employed to further improve the magnetic-induced current difference. This phenomenon projects a potential for multi-functional piezo-magnetotronic and piezo-photo-magnetotronic device development.


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Available for download on Saturday, May 18, 2019