An organic-inorganic perovskite ferroelectric with large piezoelectric response

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Science  21 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6348, pp. 306-309
DOI: 10.1126/science.aai8535

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Finding a more flexible mechanical sensor

Piezoelectric materials allow conversion between electricity and mechanical stresses. The most efficient piezoelectric materials are ceramics such as BaTiO3 or PbZrO3, which are also extremely stiff. You et al. identified an organic perovskite structured piezoelectric material that is far more pliable yet has a piezoelectric response similar to that of traditional ceramics. This material may be a better option to use as a mechanical sensor for flexible devices, soft robotics, biomedical devices, and other micromechanical applications that benefit from a less stiff piezoelectric material.

Science, this issue p. 306


Molecular piezoelectrics are highly desirable for their easy and environment-friendly processing, light weight, low processing temperature, and mechanical flexibility. However, although 136 years have passed since the discovery in 1880 of the piezoelectric effect, molecular piezoelectrics with a piezoelectric coefficient d33 comparable with piezoceramics such as barium titanate (BTO; ~190 picocoulombs per newton) have not been found. We show that trimethylchloromethyl ammonium trichloromanganese(II), an organic-inorganic perovskite ferroelectric crystal processed from aqueous solution, has a large d33 of 185 picocoulombs per newton and a high phase-transition temperature of 406 kelvin (K) (16 K above that of BTO). This makes it a competitive candidate for medical, micromechanical, and biomechanical applications.

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