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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

High Temperature Sensors Using Vertically Aligned ZnO Nanowires

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

High Temperature Sensors Using Vertically Aligned ZnO Nanowires
NASA requires new instrumentation technologies that can be applied to measure dynamic quantities such as acceleration and flow velocity under extreme temperatures where traditional sensing methodologies cannot be applied. The proposed Phase I SBIR research effort will seek to create accelerometers and flow sensors that can be applied to measure signals at temperatures in excess of 900F. In order to accomplished this proposed task we will develop new sensor modalities built on vertically aligned ZnO nanowires. ZnO is a piezoelectric materials that is not ferroelectric and thus it has an intrinsic polarization and no Curie temperature where traditional piezoelectric materials cease to function. The proposed objective of this program is to advance the field of sensing through the development of a novel nanostructured sensor for the measurement of acceleration and wall shear-stress at high temperature. The proposed sensor will provide the ability to make measurements at spatial resolutions previously unrealized through the patterned growth of the nanowire arrays thus providing a smaller footprint and an opportunity for numerous sensors on a single chip. The nanowire synthesis process is solution based and scalable allowing sensors to be built for a fraction of the cost of the complex lithography based methods of current MEMS technologies. These advances will allow researchers to study complex flows and dynamics such as those in turbomachinery under operational temperatures not conducive to current sensing technologies. Our results will seek devices with previously unrealized dimensions and properties that will impact numerous fields of science including the efficiency of turbomachinery. More »

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