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Proceedings Paper

Fabrication of a nanoscale electric field sensor
Author(s): Yun Zheng; Todd King; Daniel Stewart; Stephanie Getty
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Paper Abstract

A new nanoscale electric field sensor was developed for studying triboelectric charging in terrestrial and Martian dust devils. The sensor was fabricated using MEMS techniques, integrated at the system level, and deployed during a dust devil field campaign. The two-terminal piezoresistive sensor consists of a micron-scale network of suspended singlewalled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) that are mechanically coupled to a free-standing electrically conductor. Electrostatic coupling of the conductor to the electric field is expected to produce a deflection of the conductor and a corresponding change in nanotube device resistance, based on the known piezoresistive properties of SWCNTs. The projected device performance will allow measurement of the large electric fields for large dust devils without saturation. With dimensions on the 100 μm scale and power consumption of only tens of nW, the sensor features dramatically reduced mass, power, and footprint. Recent field testing of the sensor demonstrated the robustness of suspended SWCNT devices to temperature fluctuations, mechanical shock, dust, and other environmental factors.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 May 2009
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7318, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications, 731815 (11 May 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.818958
Show Author Affiliations
Yun Zheng, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Todd King, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Daniel Stewart, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Stephanie Getty, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7318:
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications
Thomas George; M. Saif Islam; Achyut K. Dutta, Editor(s)

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