Modern ceramics help advance technology

May 08, 2008

Many important electronic devices used by people today would be impossible without the use of ceramics. A new study published in the Journal of the American Ceramic Society illustrates the use of ceramic materials in the development of technological devices, including mobile communication and ultrasonic imaging.

Researchers led by Paul Muralt of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology reviewed the field of ceramic materials and explored the critical role that piezoelectric materials play in advancing technology.

Piezoelectric materials are functional ceramic materials that play a special role in telecommunication and ultrasonic imaging since they have the ability to efficiently transform electrical signals into mechanical vibrations, and vice versa. Piezoelectricity refers to the ability of some materials, notably crystals and ceramics, to generate electricity when compressed.

Over the last twenty years, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) have become a proven technology with many applications. Combined with piezoelectric films (piezo-MEMS) a number of important advantages are obtained. The intrinsic electro-mechanical quality of piezo-MEMS based on AlN thin films resulted in a breakthrough in cell phone technology, allowing for smaller phones, and a lowering of microwave radiation intensity.

Among piezoelectric thin film materials, PZT has recently shown much promise and will very likely be used for mass applications. Ultrahigh resolution ink-jet printing heads are expected to be the next break-through in piezo-MEMS. At different frequencies, it is possible that PZT MEMS could be used for motion sensors, vibration sensors, and optical mirrors, wristwatch rotary drives, and buzzers.

“There are many other applications under investigation, such as energy harvesting, oscillatory systems for clocks, mirror arrays, and scanners,” the authors conclude.

Source: Wiley

Explore further: Optimum inertial self-propulsion design for snowman-like nanorobot

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A tiny new species of frog from Brazil with a heroic name

10 minutes ago

The Atlantic Forest is a hotspot of biodiversity and one of the most species richness biome of anurans (frogs, tree-frogs, and toads) in the world. However, current levels of diversity might be still underestimated. ...

Insecticides similar to nicotine widespread in Midwest

9 minutes ago

Insecticides similar to nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, were found commonly in streams throughout the Midwest, according to a new USGS study. This is the first broad-scale investigation of neonicotinoid ...

Recommended for you

A transistor-like amplifier for single photons

22 hours ago

Data transmission over long distances usually utilizes optical techniques via glass fibres – this ensures high speed transmission combined with low power dissipation of the signal. For quite some years ...

User comments : 0