A molecular perovskite solid solution with piezoelectricity stronger than lead zirconate titanate

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Science  15 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6432, pp. 1206-1210
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav3057

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A flexible strategy for piezoelectrics

Piezoelectric materials produce charge when they are deformed, making them ideal for various types of sensors. However, virtually all piezoelectric materials are ceramics, which are far from ideal for applications requiring flexible sensors. Liao et al. now describe a molecular material with piezoelectric properties comparable to the industry-standard ceramic lead zirconate titanate. The exceptional properties come from finding a molecular solid-solution series that allows for compositional optimization of the piezoelectric properties.

Science, this issue p. 1206


Piezoelectric materials produce electricity when strained, making them ideal for different types of sensing applications. The most effective piezoelectric materials are ceramic solid solutions in which the piezoelectric effect is optimized at what are termed morphotropic phase boundaries (MPBs). Ceramics are not ideal for a variety of applications owing to some of their mechanical properties. We synthesized piezoelectric materials from a molecular perovskite (TMFM)x(TMCM)1–xCdCl3 solid solution (TMFM, trimethylfluoromethyl ammonium; TMCM, trimethylchloromethyl ammonium, 0 ≤ x ≤ 1), in which the MPB exists between monoclinic and hexagonal phases. We found a composition for which the piezoelectric coefficient d33 is ~1540 picocoulombs per newton, comparable to high-performance piezoelectric ceramics. The material has potential applications for wearable piezoelectric devices.

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