Piezoresistive effect of individual electrospun carbon nanofibers for strain sensing Academic Article uri icon


  • Piezoresistive behavior of individual electrospun carbon nanofibers (CNF) was studied for the first time via a microelectromechanical systems platform. The gage factor of CNFs was found to vary from 1.96 to 2.55, not correlating with nanofiber diameter. The measured strain sensitivity of electrical resistance of individual CNFs could not be solely explained based on strain induced dimensional changes of CNFs, pointing to piezoresistivity in nanofibers. The microstructure of CNFs was studied via TEM imaging and Raman spectroscopy, suggesting the presence of sp2 and sp3 hybridized carbon atoms in CNFs. The piezoresistivity of CNFs was explained in light of their hybrid structure. A one-dimensional model was adopted to relate CNFs piezoresistivity to their microstructure and electron tunneling between sp 2 hybridized regions through sp3 hybridized regions. The calibrated model revealed tunneling distances of 0.15-0.3 nm between sp 2 hybridized atoms. Moreover, our study pointed to the degree of graphitization and elastic mismatch between differently hybridized carbon atom regions in CNFs as critical parameters controlling CNFs' piezoresistivity. This study sets the stage for the utilization of CNFs, not just as load bearing elements, but also as multifunctional nanoscale components with strain sensing capabilities, for instance in Nanoelectro-mechanical systems applications. 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Cai, J., Chawla, S., & Naraghi, M.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Cai, Jizhe||Chawla, Sneha||Naraghi, Mohammad

publication date

  • October 2014

published in