Unconventional piezoelectricity in ferroelectric hafnia

Hafnium oxide thin films are a fascinating class of materials with robust ferroelectric properties in the nanometer range. While the ferroelectric behavior is extensively studied, results on piezoelectric effects have so ...

Generative model unveils secrets of material disorder

National University of Singapore (NUS) scientists have utilized generative machine learning models to explore the different methods in which atoms between adjacent crystals in a piezoelectric material, which are materials ...

Putting sound waves to work to create safer public spaces

The risk of hearing loss does not come just from loud machinery or other obvious noise. It can also affect people in public environments like theaters and concert halls. Absorbing this excess sound to make public environments ...

New quasi-particle bridges microwave and optical domains

In a paper published today (Sept. 18) in Nature Communications, researchers from the Paul-Drude-Institut in Berlin, Germany, and the Instituto Balseiro in Bariloche, Argentina, demonstrated that the mixing of confined quantum ...

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Piezoelectricity ( /piˌeɪzoʊˌilɛkˈtrɪsɪti/) is the charge which accumulates in certain solid materials (notably crystals, certain ceramics, and biological matter such as bone, DNA and various proteins) in response to applied mechanical stress. The word piezoelectricity means electricity resulting from pressure. It is derived from the Greek piezo or piezein (πιέζειν), which means to squeeze or press, and electric or electron (ήλεκτρον), which stands for amber, an ancient source of electric charge. Piezoelectricity is the direct result of the piezoelectric effect.

The piezoelectric effect is understood as the linear electromechanical interaction between the mechanical and the electrical state in crystalline materials with no inversion symmetry. The piezoelectric effect is a reversible process in that materials exhibiting the direct piezoelectric effect (the internal generation of electrical charge resulting from an applied mechanical force) also exhibit the reverse piezoelectric effect (the internal generation of a mechanical strain resulting from an applied electrical field). For example, lead zirconate titanate crystals will generate measurable piezoelectricity when their static structure is deformed by about 0.1% of the original dimension. Conversely, those same crystals will change about 0.1% of their static dimension when an external electric field is applied to the material.

Piezoelectricity is found in useful applications such as the production and detection of sound, generation of high voltages, electronic frequency generation, microbalances, and ultrafine focusing of optical assemblies. It is also the basis of a number of scientific instrumental techniques with atomic resolution, the scanning probe microscopies such as STM, AFM, MTA, SNOM, etc., and everyday uses such as acting as the ignition source for cigarette lighters and push-start propane barbecues.

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