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Flexoelectric Effect in Solids

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      Piezoelectric nanogenerators based on zinc oxide nanowire arrays.

       Jinhui Song,  Z. Wang (2006)
      We have converted nanoscale mechanical energy into electrical energy by means of piezoelectric zinc oxide nanowire (NW) arrays. The aligned NWs are deflected with a conductive atomic force microscope tip in contact mode. The coupling of piezoelectric and semiconducting properties in zinc oxide creates a strain field and charge separation across the NW as a result of its bending. The rectifying characteristic of the Schottky barrier formed between the metal tip and the NW leads to electrical current generation. The efficiency of the NW-based piezoelectric power generator is estimated to be 17 to 30%. This approach has the potential of converting mechanical, vibrational, and/or hydraulic energy into electricity for powering nanodevices.
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        Room-temperature ferroelectricity in strained SrTiO3.

        Systems with a ferroelectric to paraelectric transition in the vicinity of room temperature are useful for devices. Adjusting the ferroelectric transition temperature (T(c)) is traditionally accomplished by chemical substitution-as in Ba(x)Sr(1-x)TiO(3), the material widely investigated for microwave devices in which the dielectric constant (epsilon(r)) at GHz frequencies is tuned by applying a quasi-static electric field. Heterogeneity associated with chemical substitution in such films, however, can broaden this phase transition by hundreds of degrees, which is detrimental to tunability and microwave device performance. An alternative way to adjust T(c) in ferroelectric films is strain. Here we show that epitaxial strain from a newly developed substrate can be harnessed to increase T(c) by hundreds of degrees and produce room-temperature ferroelectricity in strontium titanate, a material that is not normally ferroelectric at any temperature. This strain-induced enhancement in T(c) is the largest ever reported. Spatially resolved images of the local polarization state reveal a uniformity that far exceeds films tailored by chemical substitution. The high epsilon(r) at room temperature in these films (nearly 7,000 at 10 GHz) and its sharp dependence on electric field are promising for device applications.
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          Conduction at domain walls in oxide multiferroics.

          Domain walls may play an important role in future electronic devices, given their small size as well as the fact that their location can be controlled. Here, we report the observation of room-temperature electronic conductivity at ferroelectric domain walls in the insulating multiferroic BiFeO(3). The origin and nature of the observed conductivity are probed using a combination of conductive atomic force microscopy, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and first-principles density functional computations. Our analyses indicate that the conductivity correlates with structurally driven changes in both the electrostatic potential and the local electronic structure, which shows a decrease in the bandgap at the domain wall. Additionally, we demonstrate the potential for device applications of such conducting nanoscale features.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Annual Review of Materials Research
            Annu. Rev. Mater. Res.
            Annual Reviews
            1531-7331
            1545-4118
            July 2013
            July 2013
            : 43
            : 1
            : 387-421
            10.1146/annurev-matsci-071312-121634
            © 2013

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