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Optimizing magnetic field sensors made by piezoelectric-magnetostrictive composites is a trade off between several parameters. Whereas large structures will cause in principle high electrical currents the mechanical coupling will lead to shear losses and therefore limit the sensitivity of the sensor and make it impossible to measure small magnetic fields. In very small structures the shear losses will decrease but the imperfections in the interfaces become more important and the typically small currents will be disturbed by, e.g., surface conductivity of the piezoelectric material and are thus difficult to measure. The best compromise is a mesoscale sensor which has relatively small losses due to shearing but still high enough electrical currents to work as a good sensor. We will present a setup which allows the use free standing ZnO micro rods as piezoelectric core material which are surrounded by a magnetostrictive layer. Since no clamping is necessary the expansion and contraction of the material is not hindered by a matrix material. The tuning of the relative layer thicknesses can be easily optimized by changing the thickness of the magnetostrictive layer so that an optimum can be achieved for different ZnO micro rods. For the growth of the ZnO a newly developed process will be presented which allows the growth of a large variety of single crystals with different aspect ratios up to needles with several millimeters in length.
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