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Thin semiconductor quantum well structures fused onto LiNbO/sub 3/ substrates using the epitaxial lift-off (ELO) technology offer the possibility of controlling the surface acoustic wave (SAW) velocity via field effect. The tunability of the conductivity in the InGaAs quantum well results in a great change in SAW velocity, in general, accompanied by an attenuation. We show that an additional lateral modulation of the sheet conductivity reduces the SAW attenuation significantly, enhancing device performance. At high SAW intensity the bunching of electrons in the SAW potential also leads to a strong reduction of attenuation. These effects open new possibilities for voltage-controlled SAW devices. We demonstrate a novel, wireless, passive voltage sensor, which can be read out from a remote location.