With a name derived from the Greek word meaning to squeeze or press, the piezoelectric effect was just a curiosity after it was discovered in several crystals in 1880. But in 1917, a quartz piezoelectric crystal was at the heart of the world's first submarine-detecting sonar.
Piezoelectric materials really took off after the 1950s, with the development of a superior man-made piezoelectric ceramic crystal: lead zirconate titanate, or PZT (the initials of its chemical symbols). Over the past 60 years, PZT has been essential for myriad high-tech applications: from inkjet printers to digital camera shutters, ultrasonic imagers, fuel injector actuators, and igniters for gas barbecue grills.
Despite this success, many scientists now want to replace PZT with some as yet undiscovered lead-free material that would be more environmentally benign and that would enable new piezoelectric applications in biological settings. To date, however, no suitable successors have been found. Candidates are typically too feeble in their piezoelectric effect and/or physical durability.
A Swiss scientist, Dragan Damjanovic, thinks researchers should be looking more broadly. He says nearly all of today's efforts are focused on materials whose ions and electrons -- the ultimate source of the piezoelectric effect -- behave in a particular manner, called polarization rotation. His theoretical calculations have shown that another, overlooked behavior – polarization extension, present in other classes of materials -- can also generate an enhanced piezoelectric effect.
An article by Damjanovic in the journal Applied Physics Letters, which is published by the American Institute of Physics, details his ideas and supporting evidence. In particular, he proposes a particular type of phase diagram that he believes will lead to improved, lead-free piezoelectric materials.
"What I have done is at odds with the dominant thinking," Damjanovic admits. "But I offer a different approach to an important problem."
The article, "A morphotropic phase boundary system based on polarization rotation and polarization extension" by Dragan Damjanovic appears in the journal Applied Physics Letters. See: http://link.aip.org/link/applab/v97/i6/p062906/s1
Journalists may request a free PDF of this article by contacting firstname.lastname@example.orgFunding: from the Swiss National Research Program on Smart Materials
Jason Socrates Bardi | Newswise Science News
Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions
29.03.2017 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Nanomaterial makes laser light more applicable
28.03.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences