Research highlight

Lead-free ferroelectrics enhanced

Nature Communications

March 21, 2012

A mechanism that enhances the piezoelectric properties of non-toxic materials is reported in Nature Communications this week. This finding could pave the way for the fabrication of high-performance yet non-toxic piezoelectric materials for technological applications. The piezoelectric materials most commonly used in practical applications contain lead, a toxic element. By examining the role played by defects known as charged domain walls, Tomas Sluka and co-workers identify an unexpected mechanism through which these can lead to enhanced piezoelectric properties in lead-free materials.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms1751

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