The research results of textured piezoelectric ceramics were published in the journal Science

On April 7, the journal Science published the latest research results of Xi’an Jiaotong University in high-performance textured piezoelectric ceramics – “Lead zirconate titanate ceramics with aligned crystallite grains”.
Piezoelectric materials are a kind of functional materials that can realize the mutual conversion of mechanical energy and electrical energy, and are widely used in medical ultrasound diagnosis, precision drive control, deep-sea communication, non-destructive testing and many other important fields. As one of the most classic ferroelectrosolid solutions, lead zirconate titanate[Pb(Zr, Ti)O3,PZT]Ceramics have become the core materials of many piezoelectric devices with excellent piezoelectric properties and a wide temperature range. Since the performance of PZT ceramics directly affects the performance of piezoelectric devices, enhancing the piezoelectric performance of PZT ceramics is of great significance to promote the upgrading of related devices and systems.
By weaving ceramic grains (i.e., orienting the grains in a specific crystallographic direction), giving full play to the anisotropy of the physical properties of the grains is considered to be the key way to further improve the piezoelectric performance of PZT ceramics. However, since the 90s of the last century, it has not been possible to prepare PZT ceramics with a highly preferred grain orientation, that is: PZT textured ceramics. Specifically, during the ceramic sintering process, PZT powder will have severe solid-phase reactions with traditional titanate microcrystalline templates (BaTiO3 or SrTiO3), resulting in the microcrystalline template being unable to complete the task of guiding the directional growth of grains, which has also become a key problem plaguing the weaving of PZT ceramics.
In response to the above problems, the team of Professor Li Fei and Professor Xu Zhuo of the School of Electronics, Faculty of Telecommunications, Xi’an Jiaotong University, cooperated with Harbin Institute of Technology, the University of New South Wales, the University of Wollongong and other units, and proposed the research idea of realizing the high-quality texture of PZT ceramics through “passivation” template. On the one hand, a new type of barium zirconium titanate was developed[Ba(Zr, Ti)O3, BZT]The template, instead of the traditional titanate template, improves the stability of the template in the PZT matrix; On the other hand, the multilayer structure of PZT matrix with non-uniform distribution of Zr4+ content is designed to replace the traditional uniform structure, so that the seed crystal template first completes the task of inducing grain-oriented growth in the PZT matrix with low Zr4+ content, and then obtains PZT textured ceramics with uniform components through Zr4+ and Ti4+ ion diffusion in the subsequent grain growth and ceramic densification.
Based on the above methods, the research team solved the academic problem that PZT ceramics could not be textured with high quality for decades, and prepared PZT textured ceramics with a highly preferential orientation along the grain <001 > for the first time (Figure 1a&b), and obtained excellent piezoelectric and electromechanical coupling properties near the quasi-homomorphic phase boundary (piezoelectric coefficient d33~700 pC/N, g33~90 mV·m/N, electromechanical coupling coefficient k33~0.85). and good temperature stability (Curie temperature ~360oC), breaking the existing PZT ceramic piezoelectric effect and Curie temperature constraint relationship (Figure 1c). This study provides a new idea for the weaving of many advanced ceramics. The developed high-performance PZT textured ceramics not only bring new opportunities for improving the performance of high-sensitivity sensors and transducers, but also provide important basic materials for studying the relationship between the structure and performance of classical ferroelectrics such as PZT.
Xi’an Jiaotong University is the first unit of the paper, and Professor Li Jinglei and Professor Li Fei are the first authors and corresponding authors of the paper, respectively, from the School of Electronic Science and Engineering, Faculty of Telecommunications, Xi’an Jiaotong University. Professor Chang Yunfei of Harbin Institute of Technology and Professor Zhang Shujun of the University of Wollongong, Australia are co-corresponding authors of the paper. Academician Sun Jun, Professor Xu Zhuo, Professor Ding Xiangdong, Professor Wu Haijun, and Associate Professor John Daniels of the University of New South Wales are co-authors of the paper. This research work was strongly supported by the Analysis and Testing Center of Xi’an Jiaotong University, senior engineer Zhang Yang was responsible for the spherical aberration correction electron microscopy experiment and unit cell parameter quantitative analysis in the paper, and Professor Ren Zijun assisted in the ceramic grain orientation analysis.
The research work was completed with the support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the National Key Research and Development Program, the Xi’an Jiaotong University Young Top Talents Program and other projects, and was strongly supported by the State Key Laboratory of Metal Material Strength and the Key Laboratory of Electronic Ceramics and Devices of the Ministry of Education.
Paper Link:https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adf6161

Figure 1.a, cross-sectional scanning electron microscopy of PZT textured ceramics; b, PZT textured ceramic synchrotron radiation XRD {002} polar diagram; c, Relationship between piezoelectric coefficient d33 and Curie temperature of PZT-based textured ceramics and traditional PZT-based ceramics; d, The relationship between the electromechanical coupling coefficient k33 and the Curie temperature of PZT-based textured ceramics and traditional PZT-based ceramics; e, Electro-induced strain comparison diagram of PZT ceramic texture, <001> crystalline to PMN–27PT single crystal and commercial PZT-5 ceramics.
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