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We report a simple method to enhance the piezoresistive sensitivity of a gold film by more than 30 times and demonstrate it using a microcantilever resonator. Our method depends on controlled electromigration that we use to tune the resistance and sensitivity of the piezoresistive sensor. We attribute the enhancement in strain sensitivity to the creation of an inhomogeneous conduction medium at a predefined location by directed and controlled electromigration. We understand this phenomenon with tunneling-percolation model, which was originally hypothesized to explain nonuniversal percolation behavior of composite materials.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2012