Research at IMRE on ferroelectrics and piezoelectrics, from materials development to device applications, has been started since the beginning of the institute more than 20 years ago, with more than 250 publications and 40 patents filed.
Piezoelectric materials, with non-centrosymmetric structural feature, possess the inherent ability of effective conversion between electrical and mechanical energies, or electromechanical coupling effect. Electrical potential or signal can be generated in piezoelectric materials under mechanical stress through the piezoelectric effect; and vice versa, mechanical strain can be generated through converse piezoelectric effect under applied electric field. They have therefore seen widespread applications in various electromechanical coupling, from hydrophones, accelerometers, mechanical energy harvesters, high precision actuators, SAW (surface acoustic wave)/BAW (bulk acoustic wave) filters, MEMS, ultrasonic imaging transducers, to mechanical vibration controllers (Refer to Fig. 1). Ferroelectric material, a subgroup of piezoelectric materials with switchable spontaneous polarization, has even stronger electromechanical coupling effect.
Our team is focused on development and customization of ferroelectric and piezoelectric ceramic and polymer materials, covering compositional and structural designs, processing of ferroelectric and piezoelectric bulk ceramics, multilayer structures, coatings, thin films, foams, nanotubes and fibers, to address a variety of challenges for multiple applications in aerospace, oil and gas, marine off-shore, NDT, buildings and electronics.
Piezoelectric materials for electromechanical energy/signal conversion applications
Capabilities on piezoelectric materials, from design, preparation, characterisation, to their devices applications have been established at IMRE, with a dedicated R&D team of more than 20 years’ experience:
- Bulk ferroelectric ceramics: solid state synthesis, wet chemistry, low temperature composition, lead-free compositions
- Piezoelectric ceramic multilayers and thick films: tape-casting, printing and thermal spraying
- Ferroelectric ceramic thin films: chemical solution and sputtering depositions; lead-free compositions
- Ferroelectric polymer coatings and multilayers: spin-coating, dip-coating, casting, aerosol spraying,electrophoretic deposition
- Piezoelectric composites and foams
- Piezoelectric fibers and nanotubes