Strain sensing with submicron Al–AlOx–Al tunnel junctions

Koppinen, P. J.; Lievonen, J. T.; Ahlskog, M.; Maasilta, I. J.
February 2010
Review of Scientific Instruments;Feb2010, Vol. 81 Issue 2, p023901
Academic Journal
We demonstrate a local strain sensing method for nanostructures based on metallic Al tunnel junctions with AlOx barriers. The junctions were fabricated on top of a thin silicon nitride membrane, which was actuated with an atomic force microscope tip attached to a stiff cantilever. A large relative change in the tunneling resistance in response to the applied strain (gauge factor) was observed up to a value of 37. This facilitates local static strain variation measurements down to ∼10-7. This type of strain sensor could have applications in nanoelectromechanical systems used in displacement, force, and mass sensing, for example.


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